Brazil starts vaccinating children after weeks of delay

Jan 14, 2022, 12:45 PM | Updated: 12:56 pm

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Fifteen Brazilian children received COVID-19 vaccines on Friday, marking the start of an effort that was delayed several weeks by the federal government’s reluctance to endorse the immunization of children.

The country’s health regulator issued approval on Dec. 16 for the administration of the Pfizer shot to kids aged 5 to 11. The decision incensed Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, who has since complained about vaccinating children, saying he won’t let his 11-year-old daughter get shots and warning of possible side effects.

A study released by U.S. health authorities in late December determined that serious side effects of the Pfizer vaccine in 5 to 11 year olds are rare. The results were based on approximately 8 million doses dispensed to youngsters in that age group.

Rather than follow the regulators’ guidance, Bolsonaro’s Health Ministry published an online questionnaire asking if children should need a doctor’s prescription to get the shot. Some of the president’s supporters, like him leery of vaccines, campaigned on social media apps for people to vote against them for children.

Despite that, a majority of the survey’s almost 100,000 participants opposed the need for prescriptions and the Health Ministry announced last week that it would allow children to be vaccinated.

An 8-year-old from the Xavante Indigenous group was the first to get a shot at the ceremony in Sao Paulo’s Hospital das Clinicas, one day after 1.2 million doses designated for children arrived at an airport in the state.

The boy has been undergoing treatment in Sao Paulo for a genetic disease that requires him to wear braces on his legs. His father Jurandir Siridiwe, a tribal leader, watched his son’s immunization broadcast via the internet.

“If we had started immediately after Anvisa (the health regulator) approved in December the Pfizer vaccine for kids of this age, today all the children in Brazil would have been vaccinated with at least one dose,” Gov. João Doria said at the event.

The Health Ministry recommended an eight-week interval between children’s first and second doses of the Pfizer shot, rather than the three weeks recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Sao Paulo state, that means children who are scheduled to return to in-person classes at public schools on Feb. 2 will do so before receiving a second dose.

While children are much less likely than adults to suffer severe illness or die from COVID-19, advocates say vaccinating them can minimize the virus’ spread in their families and society as a whole.

Brazil has begun experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases and Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga said Thursday that the highly transmissible omicron variant has become the dominant strain in Brazil.

By Friday afternoon, only six of Brazil’s 27 states had received vaccines for children. The Health Ministry’s press office cited logistical hiccups and told The Associated Press that the doses will be delivered to the remaining states over the weekend. Most of them will begin vaccinating kids on Monday.

Brazil has about 20 million children aged 5 to 11, according to the ministry.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


The Very Rev. Kris Stubna, rector of St. Paul Cathedral Parish, preaches on the topic of abortion a...
Associated Press

After Roe’s demise, clergy lead faithful in praise, laments

Praise and lament for the overturning of abortion rights filled sacred spaces this weekend as clergy across the U.S. rearranged worship plans or rewrote sermons to provide their religious context — and competing messages — about the historic moment. Abortion is a visceral issue for deeply divided religious Americans. Some are sad or angry in […]
14 hours ago
Associated Press

Poisonous bite leads German police to farm with 110 snakes

BERLIN (AP) — Police in Germany said Sunday they discovered more than 110 dangerous snakes on a farm after a woman who lived there sought medical treatment for a poisonous bite. The 35-year-old woman drove to a hospital in Salzgitter, near Hannover, early Sunday and told doctors there that one of her rattlesnakes bit her […]
14 hours ago
Associated Press

Average US gasoline price drops 4 cents to $5.05 per gallon

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) — The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline fell by 4 cents per gallon in the past two weeks to $5.05 for regular grade, it was reported Sunday. It was the first drop in nine weeks and came with a drop in oil prices amid deepening global inflation fears, industry analyst Trilby […]
14 hours ago
Associated Press

Newspaper: Oklahoma gun deaths rose as firearms access grew

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Gun deaths in Oklahoma have increased since a “permitless carry” law allowing people over the age of 21 to carry a gun without a permit or training went into effect in 2019, according to a newspaper’s review of data. The Oklahoman analyzed state medical examiner data and found that Oklahoma has […]
14 hours ago
FILE - Bosnian Serb member of the tripartite Presidency of Bosnia Milorad Dodik watches military ex...
Associated Press

Bosnian Serb leader prays for Trump’s return, praises Putin

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — The leader of Bosnia’s Serbs said Sunday he hoped former U.S. President Donald Trump would return to power and that the Serbs would “wait for appropriate global circumstances” to reach for their goal of seceding from Bosnia, which he called an “unsustainable state.” Milorad Dodik, who was a rare European official […]
14 hours ago
FILE - Wallace Reid purchases fuel for the vehicle he drives to make a living using ride-share apps...
Associated Press

Greedflation: Is price-gouging helping fuel high inflation?

Most economists say corporate price gouging is, at most, one of many causes of runaway inflation — and not the primary one.
14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

ADHS mobile program brings COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to Arizonans

The Arizona Department of Health Services and partner agencies are providing even more widespread availability by making COVID-19 vaccines available in neighborhoods through trusted community partners.
Brazil starts vaccinating children after weeks of delay