Brazil minister says Amazon coronavirus variant three times more contagious
Brazil began immunizations with vaccines made by China’s Sinovac Biotech and Britain’s AstraZeneca about three weeks ago.
A coronavirus variant identified in the Brazilian Amazon may be three times more contagious but early analysis suggests vaccines are still effective against it, the country’s health minister said on Thursday, without providing evidence for the claims.
Under pressure as the variant hammers the jungle city of Manaus with a devastating second wave of infections, Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello sought to reassure lawmakers that the surge of recent months was unexpected but coming under control.
Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello
He also told a Senate hearing that Brazil would vaccinate half its eligible population by June and the rest by the end of the year — an ambitious target as the country has barely guaranteed doses for half the population.
Brazil began immunizations with vaccines made by China’s Sinovac Biotech and Britain’s AstraZeneca about three weeks ago. Pazuello did not explain how their effectiveness against the Manaus variant was analyzed.
“Thank God, we had clear news from the analysis that the vaccines still have an effect against this variant. But it is more contagious. By our analysis, it is three time more contagious,”he said.
The Health Ministry, which has not provided information about any such analysis. Also, did not immediately respond to a request for more information.