June 11, 2021
1. Government approves vaccine for 12-year-olds and ButanVac trials begin
The Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (ANVISA) has approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine for people over 12 years of age. The minimum age for vaccination before the change was 16. The agency also authorized the ButanVac vaccine to be tested on humans. The drug is produced by Instituto Butantan, which is responsible for the distribution of CoronaVac in Brazil. Studies will be concluded within three months, and the institute expect to produce 40 million doses of the new vaccine in this timeframe – if it is approved. The government also expects to receive 3 million doses of the Janssen vaccine, which only requires one dose, for use in state capitals.
In São Paulo, expectations about the vaccine are optimistic. The state government has brought the vaccination calendar forward for adults above 18 years by 15 days. After having announced last week that every adult in the state of São Paulo would be vaccinated by October 31st, the date was then moved to the 18th of the same month. However, contamination rates in Brazil are still out of control and hospitals are currently working at the limit of their capacities. A report by Fiocruz shows that 20 states and the Federal District currently have 80% of their ICU beds occupied, warning of a high-risk situation.
G1: Vacina a partir dos 12 anos é aprovada no país
Rede Globo: Anvisa autoriza testes com ButanVac
Folha de S.Paulo: SP antecipa calendário de vacinação
Rede Globo: 20 estados e DF tem UTIs lotadas
G1: Veja como está a vacinação no país
2. COVID-19 parliamentary inquiry to disclose confidential data of two former ministers, health authorities and executives
The COVID CPI approved the disclosure of confidential phone data and digital files from former ministers Eduardo Pazuello (Health) and Ernesto Araújo (Foreign Relations). Data from secretaries of departments in the Ministry of Health, executives and other people who were part of the “parallel cabinet” of the government during the coronavirus pandemic will also be released. Senators who are part of the Parliamentary Inquiry Commission – which is investigating negligence and misappropriation of funds since the beginning of the pandemic – have also requested the disclosure of financial data from advertising agencies to investigate the distribution of messages spreading fake news.
By disclosing confidential data, members of the CPI will have access to phone conversations, messages sent through apps and browser history of the people who are under investigation from April 2020 until now. The main goal of this decision is to access data proving the existence of a “parallel cabinet” that created measures to either postpone or get in the way of fighting the pandemic in Brazil. The country is fast approaching a death toll of 500,000. So far, over 482,000 people have died and at least 17 million have been diagnosed with the disease. Yesterday, President Jair Bolsonaro sparked new controversy with public health experts by asking the Ministry of Health for a report releasing people who have been vaccinated or who have already had the disease from mask requirements.
3. Highest increase in official inflation for the month of May since 1996, reaching 0.83%
The official inflation rate for the month of May registered the highest increase of the past 25 years, according to data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE). The Extended National Consumer Price Index (IPCA) reached 0.83%, well above the inflation rate registered in April (0.31%). The accumulated inflation rate for 2021 so far is 3.22% or 8.06% over the past 12 months – which is also higher in comparison to the previous year. The market is currently waiting for the central bank to announce the basic interest rate. Economic Policy Secretary Adolfo Sachsida says the inflation increase is temporary.
According to data from IBGE, the increase in the cost of electricity (5.37%) had a major impact on the monthly inflation rate. Increases in prices of ethanol (12.92%), diesel (4.61%), gas (4.58%) and gasoline (2.87%) have also contributed to the increase. When examining annual figures, the largest price increases of food items were for soy oil (86.87%), beans (58.04%) and rice (51.83%). Every sector that the IPCA takes into consideration has registered price increases in May. The largest increase in prices was observed in the metropolitan region of Salvador (1.12%). São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro have registered inflation rates of 0.78% and 0.87% respectively.
4. Economy Minister promises to maintain emergency aid for 2 more months
The emergency aid for low-income individuals and people in vulnerable situations during the pandemic will be maintained for at least two more months. According to Economy Minister Paulo Guedes, the extension to the benefit will coincide with the vaccination of people above 18 years old. Guedes plans to launch an expanded Bolsa Familia benefit program soon after the emergency aid payments end. He has not provided details on the federal benefit – which is currently set between R$ 150 (USD $29) and R$ 375 (USD $73) – or how it will work.
According to Guedes, the extension will probably be for “two or three months”, following the government’s expectation that the pandemic will be under control in 90 days. “Every state governor is claiming that their adult population will be vaccinated by September. If they are not, we will renew the aid once again,” said Guedes. “For now, we will renew it until September. If necessary, we will include October… Another month. We are extending for two or three months. It is yet to be decided,” he said.
CNN Brasil: Auxílio emergencial será prorrogado, diz Guedes
5. Brazil lost nearly 10 million entrepreneurs in 2020, according to research
Brazil lost nearly 10 million entrepreneurs last year, going from 53.4 million in 2019 to 43.9 million in 2020. One of the main reasons for this was the impact of the pandemic, according to a study by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) undertaken in 46 countries with 140,000 people. In Brazil, the study was conducted in partnership with the Brazilian Micro and Small Enterprise Support Service (SEBRAE) and the Brazilian Institute for Quality and Productivity. A total of 2,000 people aged 18 to 64 years old were interviewed in the country from July to October 2020.
According to the study, the percentage of entrepreneurs with businesses 3 and a half years old or more halved, going from 16% to 8.7%. This is lower than in 2004 (10.1%). The number of people who have opened their businesses less than three years ago went from 23.3% to 23.4%. The number of entrepreneurs who have started their companies within the past three months of the study increased 25% – the largest growth ever registered. “Due to unemployment rates, many new and inexperienced people have been trying to survive with a small business. The entire world has witnessed this, but in Brazil the effects of the pandemic on entrepreneurship are even more profound,” says SEBRAE’s president Carlos Melles.