Brazil would have avoided 47,000 deaths with early vaccination against covid

Rio de Janeiro, November 21. Brazil would have prevented the death of some 47,000 elderly people, as well as the hospitalization of another 104,000, if it had anticipated or intensified its vaccination campaign against covid, according to a study published this Monday.

The Latin American giant, one of the two countries hardest hit by the pandemic in the world, with close to 689,000 deaths and more than 35 million infections, only began its immunization campaign against the coronavirus on January 17, 2021, almost a month after the application of the first vaccine in the world.

The study by various Brazilian scientists led by the state Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) concluded that the death of the elderly caused by covid could have been between 40% and 50% lower than that registered between January and August 2021 if the campaign of immunization would have started sooner or at a faster rate.

An analysis of the data from the first eight months of vaccination led to the conclusion that immunization saved between 54,000 and 63,000 lives of people over 60 years of age and prevented hospitalization of between 158,000 and 178,000 elderly people.

But as many as 110,000 elderly lives saved could have been saved, the study concluded, the results of which were highlighted in an article published today in the latest issue of the scientific journal “The Lancet Regional Health Americas.”

According to the researchers, despite the fact that Brazil began the campaign shortly after other countries, it had few vaccines at the beginning of the campaign and this prevented immunization from being faster.

Brazil, with 115 million inhabitants, started the campaign with few doses and only in March reached an average of 250,000 vaccines per day, which slowly increased to 500,000 per day in May and one million per day in July.

The late start of the vaccination and the few initial doses were attributed to the Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, leader of the Brazilian ultra-right denier and who considered that the pandemic was not serious and that the vaccination was neither effective nor safe.

The captain of the Army reserve came to reject offers to buy vaccines that Brazil received in 2020.

His denial and his questioned management of the covid were taken advantage of by his rivals in the October presidential elections, in which Bolsonaro ended up defeated in the second round by the progressive leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

“If we had vaccinated in January at the same rate that we did in March, we would have avoided 47,000 deaths,” said Leonardo Souto Ferreira, a researcher at the Paulista State University (Unesp) and one of those responsible for the report.

The study also concluded that, with 178,000 fewer hospitalizations in the period, Brazil would have avoided public health spending of close to 2 billion dollars.

In addition to Fiocruz and Unesp, researchers from the University of Campinas, the University of Sao Paulo (USP) and the Covid-19 Observatory network participated in the study. EFE

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Brazil would have avoided 47,000 deaths with early vaccination against covid