Brazil trims vaccine doses as recession deepens
- Brazil's Health Ministry will cut the number of doses its provides to the public for vaccinations against human papillomavirus (HPV) and pneumonia. Brazil is currently in a deep recession, affecting its ability to fund public healthcare.
- The doses for HPC vaccination will be reduced to two from three, while the doses for pneumonia in babies will also decrease to two (plus a booster). The Health Ministry said the cost of its nationwide program has risen 140% over the last five years.
- This move appears to have been coming for some time, as Brazil has reduced its imports of vaccines last year.
As an economy reliant on commodity production, Brazil has been pummeled by declining commodity prices, particularly oil prices. Its economy shrunk by 4.5% in the third quarter as its budget deficit hit 6.0% of GDP, according to numbers compiled by the Economist.
In December 2015, Rio de Janeiro declared a state of emergency due to a lack of funds to pay for equipment, supplies, and salaries.
The dosing schedule for HPV vaccination at health clinics in Brazil will be cut from three doses to two. However, there is data to support the idea that women are largely protected from HPV even when receiving fewer than three doses.
In terms of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, the number of doses of the vaccine given to babies to prevent pneumonia will be reduced to two and a booster from three and a booster. In this case, timing of the booster plays a critical role in antibody development and subsequent protection.
The government did not say how much money will be saved as a result of these cuts.