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.


(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)...

Associated Press

Kari Lake reportedly plans to launch US Senate bid in Arizona for seat held by Kyrsten Sinema

Republican Kari Lake will soon launch her campaign for the U.S. Senate seat held by independent Kyrsten Sinema, a senior adviser said Thursday.

4 hours ago

Republican presidential candidates, from left, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, former New Jers...

Associated Press

3rd Republican presidential debate is set for Nov. 8 in Miami, with the strictest qualifications yet

The third Republican presidential debate will be held in Miami on Nov. 8, a day after several states hold off-year elections.

6 days ago

During the equinox, the Earth’s axis and its orbit line up so that both hemispheres get an equal ...

Associated Press

The fall equinox is here. What does that mean?

The equinox arrives on Saturday, marking the start of the fall season for the Northern Hemisphere. But what does that actually mean?

6 days ago

Ray Epps Ray Epps, an Arizona man who became the center of a conspiracy theory about Jan. 6, 2021, ...

Associated Press

Ray Epps, an Arizona man who supported Trump, pleads guilty to Capital riot charge

Ray Epps, the target of a conspiracy theory about the Jan. 6, 2021, attack, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge.

8 days ago

Former President Donald Trump repeatedly declined in an interview aired Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023, to ...

Associated Press

Trump refuses to say in a TV interview how he watched the Jan. 6 attack unfold at the US Capitol

Former President Donald Trump repeatedly declined in an interview aired Sunday to answer questions about whether he watched the Capitol riot.

11 days ago

This frame grab from video, provided by the Mexican government, shows Ovidio Guzman Lopez being det...

Associated Press

Mexico extradites son of ‘El Chapo,’ Ovidio Guzman Lopez to US

The son of notorious cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, Ovidio Guzman Lopez was extradited to the U.S. on Friday.

12 days ago

Sponsored Articles



Importance of AC maintenance after Arizona’s excruciating heat wave

An air conditioning unit in Phoenix is vital to living a comfortable life inside, away from triple-digit heat.



When most diets fail, re:vitalize makes a difference that shows

Staying healthy and losing weight are things many people in Arizona are conscious of, especially during the summer.


Mayo Clinic

Game on! Expert sports physicals focused on you

With tryouts quickly approaching, now is the time for parents to schedule physicals for their student-athlete. The Arizona Interscholastic Association requires that all student-athletes must have a physical exam completed before participating in team practices or competition.

Brazil starts vaccinating children after weeks of delay