The expansion of the delta variant in Brazil led authorities to decide to apply the third dose of vaccine against covid-19 in the elderly.
The Ministry of Health said it will start sending booster doses to states from September 15, but some states and capitals have already started to apply them before.
In São Luís, Maranhão, the third dose began to be applied to the elderly residing in long-term care institutions (ILPI’s), from 70 years of age, on this Thursday (26).
In the state of Minas Gerais, the third dose will be applied from September with priority for the elderly over 80 years and people with low immunity.
In São Paulo, the forecast is on September 6th for seniors aged 60 and over. Anyway, the priority is to apply the third dose in elderly people who took the two doses for at least six months.
According to the Ministry of Health, the booster dose applies to anyone who took any immunizing agent and will preferably be done with a dose of Pfizer. Failing this, the alternative will be Janssen or Astrazeneca vaccines.
With the application of the third dose in the elderly, the immunization of adolescents can be compromised, since only the Pfizer vaccine is authorized to be applied in this group.
“It will all depend on the amount of doses we will receive. It may in some way affect the vaccination of teenagers. We will make every effort to make this impact as small as possible”, said the chief secretary of the Civil House, Gustavo Rocha, at a press conference.
The decision to apply the third dose occurs even with the contrary guidance of the World Health Organization (WHO). Applying the third dose “is like throwing a second buoy for some while others are drowning at the side”, said on Wednesday (25) the director general of the WHO (World Health Organization), Tedros Ghebreyesus.
Since December 2020, 1.7 billion doses have been applied in 189 countries, according to a survey by the University of Oxford. Of this total, 1.3 billion were concentrated in 10 countries.
This means that, while some countries are applying a third dose, others have not even managed to complete the vaccination schedule with two doses. These countries, where the population is not protected, become a perfect environment for the emergence of new variants. With the circulation of the virus, greater are the chances of mutations and, consequently, new, more dangerous variants that can even render ineffective the vaccines that are being applied as a third dose.
“Decision makers should not use scarce resources like the vaccine in an unproven application, diverting it from its two main priorities at the moment: preventing deaths and preventing the emergence of more dangerous variants,” said Kate O’Brien, director of WHO immunization.
Edition: Daniel Lamir