Pfizer – BioNTech’s COVID – 19 vaccine gets approved for widespread use in Brazil :
On 23 February 2021, the Brazilian health regulatory agency announced its decision to approve Pfizer’s COVID – 19 vaccine. The agency stated that this decision was made after proper reviewing of the vaccine for over 17 days. The federal health regulator Anvisa also added that this was an explicit approval and not just for emergency use.
However, this vaccine is unavailable in Brazil, so the country is currently dependent on two other vaccines. This includes the Chinese – developed CoronaVac, and the vaccine developed AstraZeneca and Oxford University. 2
The background check: Pfizer’s COVID – 19 vaccine
A day before this announcement, the company’s representatives had contacted the Brazilian senators. This was to inform them that the country’s regulatory requirements were stringent. The pharma company has also objected to being held liable for any side effects due to the vaccine. This refusal came despite the government’s insistence to hold the company accountable for such problems. This issue has been sticking out in the company’s negotiation with the government, but the agency did not comment on it.
Pfizer has also claimed that it had offered over 70 million doses of the vaccine to Brazil in August 2020. However, the negotiations failed due to the liability issues at that time.
Vaccine shortages have currently forced the country to put a temporary halt to its immunization schedules for over a month. This has led to many criticizing the country’s far–right leader.
Over 5.9 million people have been vaccinated in Brazil so far, which amounts to over 2.8 % of its population of 212 million people. The death toll is lower than that of the United States and currently stands at around 247,000 people.
Until now, Anvisa has granted only emergency approval for the COVID – 19 vaccines. This allowed healthcare workers to administer the vaccine to high-risk groups, including health workers, the elderly, and the indigenous communities.
On the other hand, Definitive approval allows the vaccine to be sold commercially to all age groups of the country. This is the type of approval that is secured by Pfizer’s vaccine.
Anvisa’s technical team has also verified the quality and effectiveness of Pfizer’s vaccine. Pfizer’s vaccine is based on mRNA technology and is over 95 % effective against the new coronavirus.