Brazil's National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) Friday approved the first nationally manufactured COVID-19 vaccine. The body is also considering a second pediatric drug after having cleared Pfizer's for children aged 5 to 11.
Anvisa issued a favorable opinion for the Rio de Janeiro state-run Oswaldo Fiocruz Institute to manufacture British AstraZeneca vaccines with Active Pharmacological Input (IFA) produced at its local plant in Manguinhos. According to Anvisa, Fiocruz's IFA has had the same performance as the product imported from China with a British license. Fiocruz will henceforth be able to deliver the first vaccines fully produced in Brazil for the National Immunization Program (PNI), under the Ministry of Health.
Fiocruz has already delivered to the PNI some 145 million AstraZeneca vaccines, produced with imported IFA.
Local experts insist it is necessary to reinforce the PNI in view of the explosion of the Omicron variant. With this strain as the driving force, Brazil registered more than 47,000 new infections Thursday, the highest number since September 18 of last year.
In the last week of December, Omicron had already spread locally in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, accounting for 92% of the new cases nationwide, according to a study from an NGO made up of public entities such as the Fiocruz Institute and private entities, such as the Albert Einstein Israeli Hospital.
President Jair Bolsonaro Thursday disagreed with Anvisa for having approved the Pfizer vaccine for children. Our beloved Anvisa became a new power in Brazil, it turns out that now Anvisa is the owner of the truth in everything. There is even already talk of a third dose of vaccines for children from 5 to 11 years old, my eleven-year-old daughter will not take a vaccine.
”If you want to follow my example (not vaccinate children) everything is fine, now if you do not want to follow it, you can vaccinate your child when that vaccine is available,” Bolsonaro added during his usual live broadcast on social media.
Despite Bolsonaro's resistance, Anvisa has been handed a report on the Coronavac vaccine for children from the Instituto Butantan, which is run by the state of São Paulo. Butantan's drug is produced in São Paulo with imported supplies from China. It has 12 million doses of the pediatric immunizer ready to be delivered to the PNI.