© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Brazil's Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga attends a press conference on July 29, 2021 at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil. REUTERS / Adriano Machado
By Lisandra Paraguassu
BRASILIA (Reuters) – The Brazilian federal government wants COVID-19 vaccinations for most teenagers, citing an investigated death and adverse events after around 3.5 million teenagers have already been vaccinated but several state governments have promised to continue.
At a press conference, Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga criticized states and cities for vaccinating 12 to 17 year olds with no health issues that put them at serious risk of COVID-19, which he believes should only begin Wednesday.
Queiroga said healthy teens who have already had one vaccination should stop taking a second – they are effectively trying to stop national vaccinations for teenagers.
Queiroga did not provide a reason to request a stop, but said it recorded 1,545 adverse events, 93% of which were in people who received COVID-19 vaccines other than the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, the only one in Brazil for minors was allowed. He also said a death had been recorded in the city of São Bernardo do Campo, just outside the capital, São Paulo.
In a statement, federal health agency Anvisa said it is investigating the death of a 16-year-old who received a first dose earlier this month.
"There is currently no clear causal link between this case and the administration of the vaccine," it said in a statement.
The state of Sao Paulo, the most populous state in the country, said it has already vaccinated nearly 2.5 million people under the age of 18. Governor Joao Doria said on social media that Sao Paulo will not stop vaccinating teenagers.
Queiroga said the evidence that vaccines are effective for healthy teenagers is not yet certain, although data from clinical trials have shown they are effective at preventing disease.
The USA, Israel and some European countries have introduced vaccinations for children. On Monday, England decided that all 12-15 year olds would be offered an injection after senior medical advisors said it would benefit children https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/britains-top-medics- recommend- 12-15-year-olds-get-covid-vaccine-2021-09-13 from minor interruptions to their education.
It remains to be seen whether Queiroga's remarks will carry much weight. Most states are not planning to stop vaccinations for this age group, according to Carlos Lula, president of the Association of State Health Ministers.
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