(Added plan details)
BRASILIA, December 1 (Reuters) – Brazil will prioritize vaccinating indigenous peoples, health workers and those aged 75 and over against COVID-19, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday, announcing an initial four-stage national plan. immunization.
People between 60 and 74 years of age will be vaccinated in the second stage, and those with previous health conditions such as heart and kidney disease will be covered in the third stage.
The final stage, before it opens to the wider population, will include teachers, security personnel and first responders, along with prison staff and inmates, the ministry said. The first four stages will cover 109.5 million people out of a total population of 212 million in Brazil.
The ministry said in a statement that the plan would be finalized once it was clear what vaccines were available.
A senior Health Ministry official said on Tuesday that the ideal vaccine for Brazil is a cheaper one-dose vaccine that can be transported and stored at temperatures between 2 degrees and 8 degrees Celsius (36-46 degrees Fahrenheit).
Among the vaccines Brazil is considering purchasing, the only single-dose vaccine is being developed by Johnson & Johnson’s Belgian pharmaceutical subsidiary Janssen.
Brazil has registered nearly 6.4 million cases of the new coronavirus since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen past 173,000 – the third largest outbreak in the world after the United States and India.
The Ministry of Health on Tuesday reported 50,909 additional confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the highest number of daily cases since early September, along with 697 new COVID-19 deaths.
The state governor and opposition politicians have put pressure on President Jair Bolsonaro’s right-wing government to draw up a national immunization plan. (Reporting by Ricardo Brito and Ana Mano Written by Anthony Boadle Editing by Brad Haynes and Rosalba O’Brien)
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