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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Marcelo Queiroga, Brazil’s Health Minister, attends a press conference at Planalto Palace, Brasilia (Brazil), July 29, 2021. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

By Lisandra Paraguassu

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s federal government wants to halt COVID-19 vaccinations for most of the country’s adolescents, citing adverse events and a death under investigation after some 3.5 million teens have already been immunized, but several state governments vowed to press on.

Marcelo Queiroga, the Health Minister, criticized cities and states for not vaccinating children aged 12-17 years old without any health problems. He said that this was only to be done on Wednesday.

The country’s largest state, Sao Paulo, claimed it had already vaccinated more than 2.5 million children under 18. Joao Doia, Governor, stated that Sao Paulo wouldn’t stop vaccination of adolescents.

Queiroga claimed that adolescents in good health who have had one shot already should not receive another. He was attempting to end nationwide immunizations.

“When I talked about an excess of vaccine doses, it is to say that we have enough vaccines that states are giving them to people who shouldn’t be getting it yet,” he said.

Queiroga didn’t give any reason but stated that 1,545 adverse reactions were reported. 93% of these occurred in patients who had received other COVID-19 vaccines than Pfizer/BioNTech, which is the only approved one for minors in Brazil.

He also said there had been one death registered, in the city of São Bernardo do Campo just outside the São Paulo state capital. But a link between the death and the vaccine – in this case Pfizer (NYSE:)’s – has not been confirmed.

Queiroga claimed that there is no proof yet of the effectiveness vaccines for healthy teenage girls, but clinical data have proven them effective in protecting against illness.

Some European countries, Israel and the United States have begun to offer vaccinations for children. On Monday, England decided that all 12- to 15-year-olds will be offered a shot after senior medical advisers said kids would benefit https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/britains-top-medics-recommend-12-15-year-olds-get-covid-vaccine-2021-09-13 from reduced disruption to their education.

Queiroga’s statements will not be taken seriously, it remains to see. Carlos Lula (president of the Association of State Health Secretaries) stated that the vast majority of states don’t plan to stop vaccinations for this age group.

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