January 29, 2021
1. Eyeing the Russian vaccine, federal government facilitates approval process
The federal government decided to ease its requirements for the authorization of the emergency use of coronavirus vaccines. The administration is already negotiating the purchase of Sputnik V, the Russian vaccine that faced some resistance from Brazilian authorities. With this change to the approval process, pharmaceutical companies are no longer required to undertake the third and final round of trials in Brazil, but will have to follow a series of control measures. The increased flexibility of approval also benefits the Indian vaccine, Covaxin, and the Moderna vaccine.
Brazil hopes to get 46.9 million doses of the vaccine from different labs by March: 17.3 million doses of CoronaVac, 10 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine produced in India, 10 million doses of Sputnik V, 8 million doses of Covaxin and a further 1.6 million through the World Health Organization’s COVAX program. The state government of São Paulo is still the largest supplier of vaccines through Instituto Butantan. The goal is to deliver all 100 million doses bought by the federal government by August.
2. Pace of vaccinations increases with over three million people vaccinated
Brazil – a country that has been a pioneer in public vaccination campaigns – is picking up the pace of vaccinations against the coronavirus, having immunized over 3 million people. This means that 1.45% of the population has received at least one dose of the two vaccines currently in use: CoronaVac and Oxford/AstraZeneca. According to a website from Oxford University, by the end of the day yesterday, Brazil was among the top 10 countries with the largest number of people vaccinated, behind Israel, the United Kingdom, the U.S., Spain and Italy.
According to the president of the Brazilian Immunology Society Juarez Cunha, the high demand for the vaccine around the world makes the vaccination of 210 million people in Brazil challenging. However, the numbers in Brazil show a better situation than what has been seen in other Latin American countries. According to data shared yesterday, the Federal District was the region with the largest percentage of its population vaccinated at 3.06%. São Paulo (1.47%) and Rio de Janeiro (1.31%) – where vaccines are produced – had lower figures. Nearly 229,000 people have died due to coronavirus in Brazil and the number of people who have been infected is over 9 million people.
O Globo: Mas de 3 milhões já tomaram vacina
UOL: Mapa da vacinação mostra avanço no Brasil
Valor Econômico: Imunização continuará em 2022
G1: Acompanhe notícias sobre a pandemia
Our World in Data: Acompanhe a vacinação no Brasil e no mundo
3. São Paulo eases restrictions and offers emergency aid to bars and restaurants
This week, Governor of São Paulo João Doria launched an emergency aid program of R$ 125 million (USD $23.3 million) in credits with lower interest rates for bars, restaurants, shops in general, the tourism sector and hotels. The aid package was announced on the same day he announced the decision to ease restrictions implemented due to the increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the state and high occupation rate in ICUs. As part of the aid program, the governor suspended water and gas cuts for lack of payments.
The decision to ease restrictions as of tomorrow was criticized by doctors, who are following the spread of the disease in the state. According to experts, the decision aims to reduce economic problems and has nothing to do with public health. Some of the business benefited by the program are also unhappy. According to the bar and restaurants association, the aid is welcomed, but is not enough for over 200,000 businesses registered in São Paulo.
G1: Doria lança pacote de auxílio a empresas e diminui restrições
O Estado de S. Paulo: SP desiste de fase vermelha aos fins de semana
4. Bolsonaro helps elect new legislative leaders elected and sends list of priorities
The candidates supported by President Jair Bolsonaro were elected to lead the two branches of Congress. The maneuver to elect his allies increased DEM’s influence in the government, as well as the influence of parties from the political center – the group known as Centrão. During the inauguration of Arthur Lira (PP) as the new President of the Chamber of Deputies, and Rodrigo Pacheco as the new President of the Senate, Bolsonaro was received with allies calling him a “myth” and members of the opposition calling him “genocidal.” During his speech, the President argued for administrative and tax reforms, the division of oil and gas fields, privatization and the independence of the Central Bank.
The new presidents of the Chamber of Deputies and of the Senate are trying to set an agenda to discuss the reforms promised by the administration, which has already sent a list of 35 priorities to Congress. Members of Congress have already set a schedule to discuss changes to taxation, which should be complete by the end of October. They also want to discuss the creation of some sort of benefit for low-income families now that the emergency aid is no longer in place. Economy Minister Paulo Guedes said that if Congress wants to offer some kind of aid, they will have to follow a “war” protocol. However, the minister has also indicated that a new emergency aid package could be offered to half of the 64 million Brazilians who received the benefit last year.
Folha de S.Paulo: Congresso quer aprovar reforma tributária até outubro
O Estado de S. Paulo: No Congresso, Bolsonaro defende agenda de reformas
Valor Econômico: Guedes admite possibilidade de novo auxílio
Folha de S.Paulo: Oposição prevê obstáculos para 2022
5. Industrial production shrinks 4.5% in 2020 and registers largest drop since 2016
Last year, Brazilian industrial production dropped by -4.5% in comparison to 2019, according to the Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics (IBGE). It is the largest such drop since 2016, when production dropped by -6.4%. In 2019, there was a -1.1% drop. According to research, the four sectors of Brazilian industry have registered losses. Intermediate goods – which represent 55% of Brazilian industrial production – have dropped -1.1% in comparison to 2019. Durable goods have dropped by -19.8%, non-durable goods by -5.9% and capital goods dropped -9.8%.
IBGE noted that the results for last year were negative for 20 out of 26 industry sectors, for 53 out of 79 groups and for 60.6% of the 805 products assessed by the institute. The weak performance in auto manufacturing – a 34.6% drop – directly affected the rates for durable goods. According to research manager André Macedo, in order for the situation to improve, the job market needs to consistently recover. Recent data shows that the unemployment rate has increased and that over 14 million people are currently unemployed.