By Daniel R. Lucey MD, MPH, FIDSA
On Thursday (March 4) a release on the PAHO COIVD-19 website stated: “The Brazil Ministry of Health announced the purchase of new COVID-19 vaccines; 138 million doses are expected to be incorporated in the National Immunization Program starting May 2021.”
The day before (on March 3) the Brazil Ministry of Health website had reported that “so far, more than 17 million doses of the vaccine against Covid-19 have been distributed by the Ministry of Health to all states and the Federal District.” The statement added:
“Faced with the serious stage of the pandemic in Brazil, the Minister of Health, Eduardo Pazuello, spoke about the progress in the negotiations for the purchase of new doses of the vaccine against Covid-19 this Wednesday (3). The Ministry of Health forecast is that 138 million doses will be incorporated into the National Immunization Program (PNI) starting in May. Advances in treatments represent an important step to expand the vaccination of Brazilians and control the pandemic.
In a meeting with representatives of the Pfizer / BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson laboratories, this Wednesday, Pazuello worked on aligning the contracting schedule and estimated vaccine delivery, which will be confirmed after the contracts are signed.”
No mention was made in either statement (by PAHO or Brazil MoH) regarding vaccine efficacy against the P.1 variant by any vaccines, whether in WHO’s COVAX facility or not.
Daniel Lucey, M.D. MPH, FIDSA, FACP, is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine, Infectious Disease adjunct Professor at Georgetown Medical Center, senior scholar at Georgetown Law, Anthropology Research Associate at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and a member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America Global Health Committee. He served as a volunteer to outbreaks overseas including hands-on Ebola patient care in Sierra Leone and Liberia (Doctors without Borders) 2014, MERS 2013, SARS 2003, as well as HIV, H5N1, Zika, yellow Fever, and pneumonic plague 2017 (with WHO/USAID/CDC). Since Jan. 6, 2020 he has contributed over 75 posts to Science Speaks on COVID-19 and traveled to China in February 2020. He initially proposed, then fundraised and helped design the content for 2018-2022 Smithsonian Exhibition on Epidemics due to zoonotic viruses. From 1982-1988 he trained at University of California San Francisco and Harvard and was an attending physician at the NIH (NIAID) in the 1990s while in the US Public Health Service.