New York – Pfizer wants to study the effectiveness of its own COVID-19 vaccine by vaccinating the entire city of Toledo, Brazil.
Specifically, the researchers want to study the vaccine’s effect in preventing symptomatic cases, re-infection, hospitalization, death, and long-term COVID-19.
Pfizer will work with local health officials and hospitals to vaccinate anyone over the age of 12 and follow up for a year.
Pfizer said it selected the Brazilian city “based on specific criteria, including favorable geography, epidemiological evidence showing consistency of the number of cases and variants in circulation, the physical infrastructure to administer the vaccines and The capability of the city’s vigilance system.”
“We are delighted to be part of this observational study and to collaborate on it,” said Toledo Mayor Beto Lunitti. “The best vaccine is the one you get in your arm, and the city of Toledo is open to science.”
According to the New York Times, Vaccination rate very high in Toledo With 98% of eligible residents receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile, the death toll from Kovid-19 in Brazil has crossed 600,000. The average daily death toll in the country has hovered around 500 for a month, down sharply from more than 3,000 in April.
About 45% of the population has been fully vaccinated, and the elderly are being given a booster shot. According to Our World in Data, an online research site, a greater percentage of Brazilians are at least partially vaccinated than Americans or Germans.
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Gonzalo Vesina, a professor of public health at the University of So Paulo, told the Associated Press in July that the delta variant, which is more contagious, would cause “a new explosion” of cases within weeks.
Many in Brazil continue to downplay the severity of the pandemic, chief among them President Jair Bolsonaro, whose popularity has waned largely because of his government’s chaotic pandemic response. But he hasn’t shied away from his positions, which include staunch support for drugs that have been proven ineffective against the virus, such as hydroxychloroquine.
He also continued to criticize restrictions on activity adopted by mayors and governors, saying Brazil needed to keep the economy humming to avoid worse hardship on the poor. Last week, during a live broadcast on Facebook, he featured a series of newspaper articles reporting the economic turmoil in Europe and the US last year in an attempt to prove he was always right.
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Brazil’s long history with vaccination campaigns has played an important role in slowing the spread of the virus, along with its wide spread. Nearly three-quarters of Brazilians have received at least one dose by now – despite the fact that Bolsonaro spent months sowing doubts about its efficacy and himself remained unconvinced. Even most of his supporters rolled up their sleeves.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.