Brazil Hits 1 Million a Day Vaccine Goal but Risks Abound
(Bloomberg) -- Brazil reached a self-imposed daily Covid-19 vaccination goal, but a shortage of shots poses a risk to the immunization plan going forward.
The seven-day moving average of shots given rose to 1 million for the first time since applications started in mid-January, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. A total of 47,111,974 million vaccines have now been administered in Brazil, mostly of China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. shot. That’s enough to cover almost 15% of the population with one dose, and fully inoculate 7.4%.
Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga set the target of 1 million daily shots when he took office in March -- the fourth person on the post since the pandemic first arrived in February of last year. The pledge to speed up the mass immunization campaign came as a new wave of the virus devastated Brazil, leaving hospitals overwhelmed amid surging cases and pushing the death toll past the 400,000 mark.
Last month, the ministry authorized the immediate use of all shots at hand, including those stored by local governments to be given as second doses. But with delays in shipments of ready-made vaccines and inputs, cities from at least 11 states ran out of shots to fully immunize those who had been given a first dose, according to local newspapers. The ministry has said people should get the booster shot even if the deadline to do so -- about a month with Sinovac’s vaccine, and three months with Astrazeneca’s -- has passed.
The shortages sent the government scrambling, with Queiroga appealing to countries that have extra shots to send them to Brazil.
Covid numbers, meanwhile, continue to surge. Brazil has already recorded more Covid-19 deaths in the first four months of the year than in all of 2020. The country reported 2,595 deaths on Friday, pushing the total to 403,781. It’s the second highest tally globally, trailing only the U.S. Cases rose by 68,333 in the past 24 hours, pushing the toll to almost 14.7 million, behind India and the U.S.
The mounting pressure on President Jair Bolsonaro led the Senate to open a wide-ranging probe into the federal government’s erratic response to the crisis.
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