Brazil to Begin Giving Vaccine Boosters, Cut Time Between Doses
(Bloomberg) -- Brazil will begin distributing booster shots of Covid-19 vaccines to some groups starting in mid-September, joining countries from the U.S. to Chile planning to use the jabs to contain the virus.
The booster will preferably be from Pfizer Inc., the health ministry said in a series of tweets Wednesday. The effort will focus on people over 70 vaccinated more than six months ago, as well as those who have immunodeficiencies. Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca Plc vaccines could be used as alternatives, the ministry said. Authorities made no mention of Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac, which has been used frequently in Brazil but has lower efficacy rates.
Officials also announced they will shorten the interval between first and second doses to eight weeks, from the current 12, for both AstraZeneca and Pfizer shots, which will likely speed up the country’s vaccination campaign. The longer gap, mostly due to a lack of enough shots to go around, has slowed Brazil’s progress toward full immunization. While the country has given one shot to 60.7% of its population -- a rate comparable to the U.S. -- only 26% of people have received both doses, almost half the U.S.’s level.
The urgency of reaching full immunization and deploying booster shots has picked up globally as governments struggle to halt the spread of the delta variant, a more contagious strain of coronavirus that has led to increased numbers of infections in countries from Israel to Mexico.
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