Brazil Overtakes U.S. in First-Dose Count After Vaccine Drive
(Bloomberg) -- Brazil became the latest major country to pass the U.S. in the percentage of its citizens who have had at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine as the government’s inoculation campaign picks up speed and resistance to the shots fades away.
About 63% of Brazilians have now received at least one dose, versus 62% of people in the U.S., according to Bloomberg’s Covid-19 Vaccine Tracker. Countries including Germany, France and the U.K. have vaccinated at least 65% of the population with one shot, the data show.
While Brazil was late to start administering vaccines, deploying the first shots in mid-January and often struggling with shortages, the campaign has gained momentum. Relying on a de-centralized public health-care system that’s known for excelling in mass immunizations, the country has regularly deployed more than 2 million jabs a day this month, according to the 10-day moving average compiled by Bloomberg.
Vaccine hesitancy has also faded, with some states like Sao Paulo reporting an immunization rate of more than 97% among adults when it comes to first doses.
Full immunization, however, is still slow. Brazil’s dependence of foreign supplies and long interval between doses -- Pfizer Inc and AstraZeneca Plc shots are being given 12 weeks apart, while Sinovac Biotech Ltd’s jabs are one month apart -- has meant just 28% of the population had completed the immunization, almost half the U.S.’s level.
Last week, officials announced they will shorten the interval between first and second doses to eight weeks, which could give the mass immunization campaign another boost. They also plan to give booster shots of Covid-19 vaccines to some groups starting in mid-September.
The Latin American country, which ranks among the world’s worst hit when it comes to Covid deaths and infections, has seen the pandemic ease. Last week the number of deaths from the respiratory virus fell to 4,801, a tenth straight drop, to the lowest in about eight months.
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