More Brazilians willing to get COVID vaccine: survey

Alaturka Amerika ABD Haberleri

By Gabriel Toueg

SAO PAULO (AA) – A new survey in Brazil has revealed that more people are willing to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

According to polling institute Datafolha, the intention to get the shot has since grown, with 79% now saying they want to be immunized versus 73% last month.

Despite the increase, the number is still lower than the 89% who said last August that they were willing to be vaccinated.

Vaccination in the country started on Jan. 18, minutes after Brazilian health regulator Anvisa approved the emergency use of two vaccines. Immunization is not mandatory in Brazil.

According to the survey, those who most want to be immunized are people over 60 (88%) and those with a monthly income of 1,000 to 2,000 US dollars (81%).

Young people aged 25 to 34 are the least likely to be vaccinated (74%). Among those who earn up to 400 US dollars a month, rejection is also greater compared with other income ranges, with 18% saying they do not want the vaccine against 15% of those who earn 400 to 1,000 US dollars.

Among those who evaluate the government as bad or terrible overall, 88% say they want to get vaccinated, while among those who consider it excellent or good, the rate drops to 68%.

Over the past few weeks, Brazil has made diplomatic efforts to ensure the delivery of doses from India and supplies for local production from China. Errors in Brazilian foreign policy have placed the country in a delicate position, causing both exporters to delay shipments.

On Friday, nearly a week late, Brazil finally received 2 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from India. They were rapidly incorporated into the national program, which expects to initially immunize over 15 million people, including health professionals at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19, institutionalized elderly people over 60 and institutionalized disabled people over 18, in addition to the indigenous population on indigenous lands.

Currently, there are about 12.8 million available doses in Brazil. In addition to the 2 million imported from India, another 6 million doses of the Chinese CoronaVac vaccine imported by the Sao Paulo government and an additional 4.8 million from the Butantan Institute released by Anvisa are already being used.

Another 354 million doses of vaccines are assured for 2021 through agreements with Fiocruz (212 million doses), the Butantan Institute (100 million) and the Covax Facility (42 million).

Butantan is relying on the shipment from China to be able to produce the doses. The government is also negotiating around 42 million other doses from Pfizer, Janssen and Moderna.

Both US-based Pfizer and Belgian pharmaceutical company Janssen’s vaccines are in the approval process for use by Anvisa, but the laboratories have not yet finished sending documents.

Roughly 500,000 people were already vaccinated in Brazil with the first dose, according to the local press. With over 213 million people, the country has a rate of 2.53 vaccinated people per thousand inhabitants.

Neighboring countries such as Argentina (6.37) or Chile (3.30) are more advanced but also below the world average, which today reached 8.1 vaccinated people per thousand inhabitants.

The Datafolha survey also indicates that, for 62% of the population, the pandemic is out of control in Brazil. One third of respondents said the health crisis is partly controlled, and only 3% said it is fully controlled.

Brazil has more than 8.8 million registered infections and over 217,000 deaths. The country continues to have the second-highest death toll after the US, which has 419,097. ​​​​​​​

Under pressure to step down and after the Attorney General's Office asked for an investigation into his conduct in facing the pandemic in Manaus, which reported a lack of medicinal oxygen at hospitals last week, Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello traveled Saturday to Amazonas state’s capital Manaus, whose health system is collapsing. According to the ministry, Pazuello “will stay in Amazonas as long as necessary.”