By Julinho Bittencourt. Revista Forum.
Former Health Minister Artur Chioro, commenting on an excerpt from the testimony of the Butantan Institute’s director, Dimas Covas, this Thursday (27th), at the Senate Inquiry (CPI) into the pandemic response, that “we could have prevented at least 250 thousand deaths, with Coronavac alone”, if it had been bought in time by the Bolsonaro government.
Chioro explained that, “according to Dimas Covas’ testimony, we lost three and a half months to offer vaccines due to government interference. In other words, we could have prevented at least 250,000 deaths, with Coronavac alone. Imagine if we add to that what we failed to offer from Pfizer, Janssen, Sputnik, among others?”, asked the ex-minister.
“Adding together information obtained at the CPI so far, we would have been able to anticipate 18 million doses of Pfizer by March and 100 million of CoronaVac three and a half months earlier. Adding that to the doses already distributed, it would have been possible to vaccinate the entire vulnerable population (78 million people), plus 74.5 million non-vulnerable Brazilians”, said Chioro, a physician and university professor who served as minister of health in the Dilma Rousseff government.
The ex-minister added: “In other words, we would have 152 million vaccinated Brazilians (71.2% of the population) and we would already have vaccine herd immunity”.
In his testimony, Butantan director Dimas Covas also said that Brazil could have been the first country in the world to start vaccination if the institute had not been hampered in its contracts with the Ministry of Health. Vaccine testing in the country began in July 2020 in six states, in addition to Brasilia DF. The first vaccine offer to the Bolsonaro health ministry was made in July 2020, according to Covas.
At that time, 60 million doses were offered that could be delivered in the last quarter of 2020. According to Covas, there was no positive response. The contract with the ministry was closed only in January 2021.