Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for children aged between 6 months and 4 years will be released as soon as it is cleared by technical experts from the Health Ministry, it was announced in Brasilia during the weekend.
The drug has already been approved late last week by the National Health Surveillance Agency (AnvisaAccording to the Ministry of Health, the start of the application will not take long because the government has a contract with the manufacturer.
”The Ministry of Health has a contract with Pfizer to supply all the vaccines approved by Anvisa and included in the National Operationalization Plan for Vaccination against Covid-19 (PNO), the Health Ministry said in a statement.
As soon as the recommendation is approved, vaccines will be made available for the whole country, as already happens with the other age groups,” it went on.
The pediatric version of the Pfizer vaccine has a different dosage from the one used in age groups above 12 years old. The formulation authorized by Anvisa should be applied in three doses of 0.2 ml (equivalent to 3 micrograms). The two initial doses should be given three weeks apart, followed by a third dose given at least eight weeks after the second dose.
The cap of the vaccine bottle will come in wine color, to facilitate identification by vaccination teams and also by fathers, mothers, and caregivers who take children to be vaccinated. The use of different cap colors is a strategy to avoid errors due to the different dosage requirements for each age group.
Meanwhile, monkeypox vaccines should arrive in the country this month, Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga announced in a TV interview, following negotiations with the Danish laboratory Bavarian Nordic through the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO). The first batch will consist of 50,000 doses.
Queiroga explained the vaccines are not for the entire population, just for specific groups. There is no recommendation, at the moment, for mass vaccination, he underlined.
Among the specific groups are healthcare professionals and people who have had contact with carriers of the virus. Studies already show that one dose of this can be fractioned into five doses. So we can benefit a larger number of people. At first, it is those who have contact with contaminated material, said Queiroga.
Queiroga also underlined that monkeypox was not as lethal as COVID-19 and that the latter has mutated over time which has not happened with monkeypox since it was first mapped in Africa in 1976.
The minister also stressed that monkeypox contagion rates were decreasing worldwide and were stable in Brazil. In the whole world the outbreak has been decreasing, the speed of progression of the cases is slower, and we are in a plateau phase with a decrease. So we hope that this outbreak will be controlled, he said.
The Health Ministry has also been cleared by Anvisa to import the antiviral Tecovirimat, which must be used in serious and specific situations where we have no other alternatives for these patients, underlined Queiroga, who insisted on expanding the target population for vaccination.
(Source: Agencia Brasil)