Brazil's National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) Thursday recommended children be vaccinated against COVID-19, despite President Jair Bolsonaro's stance against this type of immunization.
Anvisa has already defeated Bolsonaro in imposing a vaccination passport on travelers arriving from abroad following a Federal Supreme Court (STF) ruling in that regard.
There are already 19 confirmed cases nationwide of the new Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2.
Anvisa's drug manager Gustavo Mendes said the immunization of children under 12 years of age was endorsed after a series of studies in which there were no reports of any serious, worrying adverse event.
Neither were any very serious cases of mortality due to vaccination, which is one of the concerns when transferring an adult vaccine to the pediatric population, Mendes added.
The drug approved for children between 5 and 11 years of age was that of Pfizer, from the United States, which will be administered in doses one third the size of those applied to adults.
Anvisa is yet to comment on the potential use on children of the Chinese Coronavac, manufactured locally at the Butantan Institute of the São Paulo state government. São Paulo Governor João Doria has offered this particular brand to be used on children since the Health Ministry is said to be short of Pfizer doses to start a campaign for children.
Brazil has applied the two doses of Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Coronavac, and Janssen's monodose drug to 140.7 million people, with 65.9% of the population having their immunization schemes, while 160.3 million -75.1% of the population- has taken at least one dose.
Children between 5 and 11 years of age will have to be immunized in places other than those of adults and remain there for about 20 minutes to receive immediate attention if side effects arise.
Anvisa's advice was delivered Thursday to the federal government. President Bolsonaro has published a video on Twitter against vaccines, because people who had taken the shots contracted COVID-19 nonetheless.
The sanitary agency was also behind the implementation of a vaccination certificate to foreigners arriving into the country, to which Bolsonaro flatly opposed but was overruled by the STF's decision.