Pfizer and Butantan advocate vaccination and fight against fake news
03 de maio de 2021
  • English

In a webinar organized by Aberje in partnership with King’s Brazil Institute, experts emphasize that the fight against the pandemic must combine mass vaccination and public awareness

The Covid-19 pandemic will only end when a substantial share of the world population is vaccinated – and if the population is aware of the importance of science and immunization, refuting false information about the disease and existing vaccines. That’s the conclusion of the webinar “Vaccines for Covid-19: Actions and Narratives,” held by Aberje in partnership with the King’s Brazil Institute.

The debate – broadcast on Aberje’s YouTube channel – was attended by Marta Díez, CEO of Pfizer Brasil, Raul Machado Neto, Institutional Strategy director at Instituto Butantan, and Maria Berta Ecija, an expert in health diplomacy from King’s College London. The debate was mediated by Vinícius Mariano de Carvalho, director of the King’s Brazil Institute and member of the Advisory Board of Aberje, and Leonardo Müller, an economist with a Ph.D. in philosophy and a researcher at Aberje. It was the second meeting of the monthly webinar series that began last month to discuss relations between Brazil and the United Kingdom.

“It is imperative that everyone is vaccinated and, in the future, we will see if the vaccines will be less or more effective. There is no way to require everyone to get the same type of vaccine. There are not enough doses of a single vaccine for everyone, so populations should take whatever is available. The priority must be to vaccinate as many people as possible,” said Pfizer Brasil’s Díez.

“We have safe vaccine options. The Coronavac, specifically, was approved by Anvisa, which is a very respected agency. Now, in China, Sinovac’s procedures and production are being qualified by WHO, which changes the acceptance by blocs like the European and others,” said Butantan’s Machado Neto.

Regarding fake news, Díez highlighted that Pfizer launched the global campaign “Science will win” to remind the population of the importance of science and vaccination. “The fight against fake news is also fundamental. To get out of this crisis and return to the life we had, people need to be aware and vaccinated”.

According to King’s College’s Maria Berta, the impact of misinformation on vaccination campaigns is very extensive. “When people are misinformed, it becomes polarized, and we have seen this happen a lot in Brazil – it is divided between those who believe in the vaccine and those who distrust it. The impact also happens in the transmission, as it influences the decision to go out on the streets”, he said.

Expectations

Pfizer is “very prepared” for the challenges of 2021. “Producing vaccines may sound simple, but it’s complicated, and Pfizer has a lot of experience, so we’re ready. This year, we hope to produce three billion doses of the vaccine, to be sold to countries around the world,” said Diez, adding that 60 countries already have an agreement with Pfizer.

Machado Neto also showed optimism both with vaccination through Coronavac and with the production and future distribution of Butanvac – a Brazilian immunization agent against Covid-19, which the Butantan Institute is already developing.

He predicts that, by September, 100 million doses of Coronavac will be produced and delivered to the Brazilian government and stresses that Butantan is already expanding its production capacity. “The technical product comes from abroad and is bottled here, but we have all the conditions to produce the API [Active Pharmaceutical Input], which will be Butanvac. This new vaccine, 100% Brazilian, uses the same platform as the flu vaccine. We are today the largest supplier of the flu vaccine in the southern hemisphere. This year alone, we have provided 82 million doses,” he said.

The professor emphasizes that Butanvac results from a partnership with the Medical School of Mount Sinai (New York) and the University of Austin (Texas). “By July, we should have 18 million doses of Butanvac already produced, even before approval by Anvisa. We have a very positive expectation concerning Butanvac; it has the potential to absorb the new variants. Butanvac’s production capacity may reach more than 100 million, as it is the same platform as the flu vaccine, and today we have managed to reach 140 million doses”.

 
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