The Butantan Institute sent the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) a request to expand the age range for indication of CoronaVac, including children and adolescents aged between three and 17 years. So far, only people aged 18 or over can receive the immunizing agent from Butantan.
To achieve the expansion, the Institute needs to have studies that prove the safety and efficacy of the vaccine in the determined age group. So far, only Pfizer is authorized to immunize children under 18, from 12 years of age onwards.
According to the Minister of Health, Marcelo Queiroga, the population between 12 and 17 years old will begin to be immunized after the entire adult population of each state takes at least one dose of vaccine.
Some municipalities, such as Campo Grande (MS), Niterói (RJ) and São Luís (MA) have already started to vaccinate adolescents. The city of São Paulo should start immunization on August 18th.
::Understand what it is and how the mutation of the new coronavirus happens::
Brazil receives more doses
The Institute of Technology in Immunobiologicals (Bio-Manguinhos) of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) delivered, this Friday (30), over 2.2 million doses of the vaccine produced in partnership with the British laboratory AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford to the National Immunization Program (PNI), of the Ministry of Health.
With this, Fiocruz completes the delivery of 80.4 million doses, 76.4 million of which were produced by Fiocruz with imported input and 4 million were imported ready-made from Instituto Serum, in India.
Fiocruz is also manufacturing the first of two batches of pre-validation of the immunizing agent with active pharmaceutical ingredient (IFA) produced entirely in Brazil.
At this moment, the process is in the expansion phase, that is, when the cells are still in the multiplication phase to later be infected by the virus.
The goal is to start distributing the vaccine produced entirely in the country from the last quarter of this year. For this, the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) also needs to authorize the change of the manufacturing site, whose request will still be sent by Fiocruz.
The US pharmaceutical Pfizer also delivered 1,895,400 doses of vaccine to Brazil this Thursday (29). The amount is part of the 13 million doses of the immunizing agent scheduled to be delivered by August 1st (Sunday).
:: What is known about the role of childhood vaccination in combating the pandemic? ::
So far, 30 batches have been delivered, adding up to 25 million of the 200 million doses contracted by the Ministry of Health. The expectation is to deliver the total amount by the end of this year.
The Butantan Institute, which produces CoronaVac in partnership with the Chinese laboratory Sinovac, also delivered over 1.2 million doses. With that, the São Paulo institution has already delivered 62.849 million doses to the federal government since January 17 this year.
New study on the effectiveness of CoronaVac
A study led by the University of São Paulo (USP) and Fiocruz, with follow-up by the Pan American Health Organization, showed that CoronaVac guarantees an efficacy of 71.4% against deaths from covid-19 among the population with an average age of 76 years old. Against symptomatic cases of the disease, the immunizing agent showed protection of 41.6% after 14 days of application of the second dose. Against hospitalization, the rate was 59%.
The survey, which was cited this week as a reference by the World Health Organization (WHO) during a survey, was conducted with 15,900 people aged at least 70 years in the state of São Paulo.
The study also reinforces the need for the second dose. With the first alone, there is only 10.5% protection against symptomatic cases, 18% against hospitalization and 31.6% against deaths.
The WHO survey showed that AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have an overall effectiveness rate above 90%. Remembering that immunizing agents used in other campaigns against other diseases, such as tuberculosis and flu, have an average protection between 60% and 70%.
To the UOL, Gustavo Cabral, an immunologist and researcher at USP, stated that “the effectiveness of the flu vaccine is lower than that of CoronaVac and we never need to explain this, because we have already controlled this epidemic. What we aim with CoronaVac and the other immunizers against covid-19 is to have something like the flu. And to have this disease control, only with mass vaccination”.
Vaccines and the delta variant
What is most worrying in the Brazilian scenario is the spread of the Delta variant, first identified in India. A study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that transmission of the new strain can be more dangerous than chickenpox. In Brazil, at least 247 cases and four deaths from the delta variant have already been registered, according to data from the Ministry of Health on Thursday (29).
Without control over security measures, such as social isolation, the virus is able to circulate more among the population and thus have a greater capacity to generate mutations. With the pace of vaccination less than desired, there is the possibility of resistant variants to the applied vaccines.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine has an overall effectiveness of 60% against the new variant, 15 days after the second dose is applied. Pfizer’s immunizer, 88% under the same conditions. The manufacturers of CoronaVac and Janssen still do not have enough information to generate data to prove the effectiveness against the variant.
Vaccination and pandemic in Brazil
Brazil recorded 963 deaths from covid-19 in the last 24 hours, between Thursday (29) and Friday (30), totaling 555,460 fatal victims of the disease in Brazil since the beginning of the pandemic. Data are from the National Council of Health Secretaries (Conass).
Regarding the number of cases, there were 40,904 new confirmed cases in the same period, totaling 19,880,273 infected since March 2020. The moving average, calculated based on the last seven days, of deaths is 1,017, while the number of cases in 35,404.
Regarding the vaccination picture, only about 20% of the population completed the vaccination schedule, that is, they have already taken the two necessary doses against covid-19, or one dose, in the case of the Janssen vaccine. This means that 41,012,243 people completed the scheme, exactly 19.37% of the population, according to data from the press consortium on Friday (30).
The first dose was applied to 100,082,100 people, representing 47.26% of the population.
Edition: Douglas Matos