About 1.5 million people who received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in Brazil did not show up on the due date for their second injection, the health ministry said.
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“We must communicate effectively with the population so that they go to the vaccination centers to receive the first and the second dose and that they respect the following rules: wearing a mask and physical distancing,” said Wednesday. Minister of Health, Marcelo Queiroga, at a press conference in Brasilia.
To date, nearly 24 million people (11.6% of the population) have received one dose of the vaccine and 7.3 million (3.74%) both doses in Brazil.
The health authorities of the various states of the country, however, disputed the figures of the ministry, judging them “out of phase”, because they would not take into account a large number of people who would have in fact received the second dose on time.
“I don’t think there are so many people who are not going to be vaccinated (for the 2e dose). I think it’s just a delay in the transmission of data to the ministry, ”Mauro Junqueira, president of the National Council of Municipal Health Secretariats (Conasems), responsible for health issues in every city in the country, told TV Globo.
The ministry urged people to receive the second dose, even if they are behind schedule.
This country of 212 million began its vaccination campaign in mid-January: the most used vaccine is the Chinese CoronaVac, with four weeks between the two doses.
Brazil has also immunized part of its population with the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine, 12 weeks apart.
The pace of vaccination is still slow due to delays in importing doses or active ingredients to manufacture them.
But the government hopes to be able to accelerate this rate in the coming weeks, in particular thanks to the arrival by the end of the month of the first doses of the vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTec, which must deliver 15.5 million by June.