Saúde cites low effectiveness in the elderly to exclude CoronaVac in 2022
October 8, 2021
by Abhishek Pratap
The Ministry of Health has stated that it may discontinue the use of the CoronaVac vaccine in the immunization against covid-19 in 2022 due to its “low effectiveness” in the population over 80 years old, as it is not yet indicated for use as a booster dose and the absence of definitive registration with Anvisa (National Health Surveillance Agency).
“The reason for the possible discontinuation of the CoronaVac vaccine in the year 2022 is directly related to the condition of its evaluation by Anvisa. Until now, the authorization is temporary for emergency use, which was granted to minimize, as quickly as possible, the impacts of the disease in the national territory”, he informed.
The information was provided in a document sent by the folder to Covid’s CPI today in response to inquiries made by the commission last Tuesday (5). At the time, senators set a deadline of 48 hours for the ministry to explain a series of issues related to the pandemic.
“In addition to the fact that studies demonstrate the low effectiveness of the immunizing agent in a population over 80 years of age; discussions in the Technical Chamber that did not indicate such an immunizing agent as a Booster or Add l- according to NT SECOVID, thus, at the present time, it would only be indicated as primary vaccination schedule in individuals over 18 years old”, says the document sent by Health to the CPI.
The answer also states that, even when used in the primary vaccine schedule, the immunizing agent from Chinese manufacturer Sinovac produced in Brazil by the Butantan Institute may require a complement.
“There are ongoing studies that indicate that even using a primary vaccine schedule, a third dose must be considered.”
The Butantan Institute was contacted by the report to comment on the folder’s statements, but has not yet commented. The space remains open.
The Ministry of Health document also reinforces the justification that had already been used by Minister Marcelo Queiroga that the CoronaVac vaccine has only Anvisa’s emergency use authorization: “The reason for the possible discontinuation of the CoronaVac vaccine in the year 2022 is directly related to the condition of its evaluation by Anvisa”.
Currently, among the vaccines used in Brazil, CoronaVac and Janssen only have authorization for emergency use. The immunizers from Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca are definitively registered.
Authorization for emergency use of vaccines was given by Anvisa for the period that lasts the decree of a state of pandemic in the country, which should end at the end of this year. From then onwards, only vaccines with definitive registration with the agency can be used.
The federal government signed two contracts with Butantan, responsible for bottling the vaccine of Chinese origin in Brazil, for the acquisition of a total of 100 million doses of CoronaVac, which have already been delivered. There was a possibility of a third agreement, for another 30 million doses, but the negotiations did not go ahead.
Recently, the president of Butantan, Dimas Covas, said that obtaining the definitive registration of CoronaVac, developed by the Chinese laboratory Sinovac, is a consequence and that it will be done when the data on the immunizing agent are consolidated. He didn’t give a deadline for this to happen.
All vaccines are safe
None of the covid-19 vaccines being applied to the population are “experimental”. All of them are safe, effective and had their use authorized by Anvisa after months of tests with hundreds of people.
Although the WHO (World Health Organization) has evaluated the CoronaVac vaccine as the option with poorer results in international studies of different immunizers, there is no reason for concern or to doubt the vaccine’s efficacy and safety.
WHO has already endorsed CoronaVac and considers it good enough for applications, even adding it to the global distribution network — with no indication that this status is revoked. Also, the data differs from survey to survey. Therefore, they should not be used alone to disqualify a vaccine — not least because, to control the pandemic, all immunizers need to “work together”, immunizing the majority of the population as soon as possible.
“The effectiveness of the flu vaccine is lower than that of CoronaVac and we never need to explain this, because we have already controlled this epidemic. What we aim at with CoronaVac and the other immunizing agents against covid-19 is to have precisely something like the flu. And to have this disease control, only with mass vaccination”, explains immunologist Gustavo Cabral, a researcher at USP (University of São Paulo)/Fapesp (Foundation for Research Support of the State of São Paulo ) and columnist of Live well.