KEY POINTS

  • The 16-year-old died on Sept. 2 after receiving the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
  • Anvisa said they have yet to find a causal link between the death and the vaccine
  • Brazil has the third-highest number of COVID-19 cases worldwide

Brazil’s federal government announced plans to temporarily pause COVID-19 vaccination in teens following the death of one adolescent and more than a thousand reports of adverse events.

During a press conference on Thursday, Brazil’s Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga announced that the government is requesting a halt on the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines among teens. While he did not specify a reason for the request, he noted that health officials are currently investigating the death of a 16-year-old in the city of San Bernardo do Campo.

Queiroga also said that the government has received 1,545 reports of adverse events following vaccination. At least 93% or 1,436 reports were in people who received COVID-19 shots other than the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is the only one approved for emergency use in minors in the country. 

Healthy teens who have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine are urged not to take a second shot during the proposed nationwide halt. 

Anvisa, Brazil’s federal health regulatory agency, said it has yet to see evidence to support the government’s call to halt the distribution of Pfizer shots in teens ages 12 to 17. It also said that it is still investigating the death of the adolescent who died on Sept. 2 after receiving a Pfizer dose. 

“At present, there is no definite causal relationship between this case and the administration of the vaccine. The data received are still preliminary and need further research to confirm or rule out the causal relationship with the vaccine,” Anvisa said in a statement, per Google Translate. 

“In addition, to establishing contact with scientific societies, in order to intensify the early identification of cases of serious adverse events after vaccination in adolescents, Anvisa will hold a meeting with the company Pfizer and those responsible for investigating the case in the state, in addition to the Center for National Strategic Information on Health Surveillance (Cievs) for more information.”

The proposed nationwide vaccination halt comes after Brazilian health officials on Wednesday recorded 14,780 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, bringing the nation’s total number of infections to 21,034,610. Brazil’s seven-day average as of Sept. 15 was also at 15,229.

Brazil is currently the third among countries with the most number of cases reported since the beginning of the pandemic, behind only India, with 33,347,325 infections; and the United States, with 41,780,371 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Children aged 12-15 in the UK will be offered a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab Children aged 12-15 in the UK will be offered a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab Photo: AFP / Robyn Beck