Almost a year after the submission of the first application for authorization of coronavac for children aged 3 to 5 years, there is still no forecast of approval of the immunizer in Brazil. Meanwhile, the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), the US agency that authorizes the use of drugs in the country, has approved the use of Pfizer and Moderna immunizers in children over six months of age, and immunization in the US has begun. this Tuesday (21).
After two denials for the use of this vaccine in young children, the Butantan Institute, manufacturer of Coronavac, claims to have delivered all the documentation required by the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa). The agency received the opinion of Brazilian medical societies in relation to the studies presented, but did not set the date of the meeting that will decide whether or not to approve the immunizer.
Despite the lack of answers, the sanitary doctor Claudio Maierovitch, former president of Anvisa and vice president of the Brazilian Association of Collective Health (Abrasco), believes that Coronavac will be authorized.
“All of us in public health are waiting for this approval to come out, because it is very important to expand the age group”, says Maierovitch “This technology used in Coronavac is very safe, known for a long time. It uses inactivated viruses, much like the flu vaccine, which is already used in children over 6 months of age,” he explains.
Children need the vaccine
He advocates the importance of vaccination in young children. “The idea that Covid does not cause problems for children is a myth. We were very impressed, rightly, by the catastrophe that happened with the covid, especially in the older population and people did not always pay attention to what was happening to children “, says the sanitarian. “It is true that the proportion of serious illness is much lower than in the elderly or people with other illnesses, but there are many cases of children with severe illness who are unprotected today,” he says.
Vaccination of children can also have an influence on controlling the transmission of the virus. “The expansion to the 3-5 age group would include a part of the children who are already in school and day care centers, that is, who already have important social contact, and who, therefore, participate in the transmission chains that keep the virus circulating. ”, explains Maierovich.
Pandemic is not over
Even with the eventual approval of the vaccine, Maierovitch’s message is clear: it’s not to relax. “For any age we can say ‘look, everything goes back to normal, let’s relax’.” On the contrary, he defends the maintenance of non-pharmacological measures to control the transmission of the virus, such as the use of masks in closed places, including schools. “In my understanding, the use of masks should never have been stopped indoors. It is a simple, inexpensive method that does not cause problems for people”, he says.
It is also necessary to combat the inequality of access to immunizations. “In Brazil we have a National Immunization Program that reaches every corner of this country. But this was the first time that a vaccination campaign was not accompanied by a communication campaign”, explains Maierovitch. “It is important for people to know that the vaccine exists, that it works, that it is very safe and that they offer very good protection against serious illness, hospitalization and death”, he concludes.
Editing: Rodrigo Durao Coelho