SAO PAULO (Reuters) – The National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) should make important advances this week on the analysis of the new request from the Butantan Institute for the application of the vaccine against Covid-19 CoronaVac in children aged 3 to 11, said the manager of Anvisa Medicines, Gustavo Mendes, this Monday.
In an interview with GloboNews, he said, at the same time, that it is not yet possible to commit to a date for announcing the regulatory body’s decision.
“The Butantan Institute sent a new package with data that, in theory, bring the answers to those questions we asked when we did not accept the previous request. So our expectation is, this week, to carry out the same procedure that we did with Pfizer. We are going to involve medical societies in this discussion, scrutinizing these studies in detail so that we can make the decision”, said Mendes.
“I believe that this week, yes, we will make some progress in this assessment, but I still can’t tell you an outcome, I can’t tell you if we’re going to make a decision this week. But we will have important advances, yes”, he added.
Last week, Anvisa authorized the application of the Pfizer vaccine in children aged 5 to 11 years in Brazil. However, Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga told journalists in Brasília that there is no rush to vaccinate this age group and did not say a date when the vaccination of children would begin, despite saying that the contract with Pfizer provides for the supply of pediatric doses.
The minister argued that he did not receive the full content of Anvisa’s decision and that the main concern of the folder is with the safety of the immunizing agent. When asked about the subject, the Anvisa Medicines manager said that it is up to the Ministry to make decisions on the acquisition of vaccines and logistics, but he said: “This analysis of the analysis, with regard to the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, in our view, is something new”.
He added that Anvisa’s decision was published in the Official Gazette of the Union and that all documents referring to the reasons that led the agency to authorize Pfizer’s vaccine for children are published on the agency’s website.
President Jair Bolsonaro frequently questions, without giving grounds, the effectiveness of vaccines against Covid and, after Anvisa authorized the application of the immunizing agent in children, he said that he had asked for the names of those responsible for the decision of the agency, which, by law, is a regulatory body independent of government.
(By Eduardo Simões)
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