<p>By Pedro Fonseca</p> <p>RIO DE JANEIRO, June 1 (Reuters) – A decrease in local COVID-19 vaccine production has slowed the pace of Brazil’s inoculation drive and contributed to a growing number of people not taking their second doses, according to the latest data from the Fiocruz biomedical institute.</p> <p>Brazil administered 21 million COVID-19 shots in May, down 14.2% from the 24.5 million vaccines injected in April, according to data compiled by the federally funded Fiocruz and state Health Departments.
More than 10.5 million second doses were given in April, compared with 6.6 million last month, the data show.</p> <p>Experts said a lack of shots, coupled with misinformation study about sexual health vaccines, had led millions of Brazilians to only take one dose so far. The slowing pace is likely to extend Brazil’s outbreak.
More than 460,000 Brazilians have died from COVID-19, the second highest total after the United States.</p> <p>A lack of chemical ingredients, mainly delivered from China, has caused Brazil’s two main vaccine production hubs, Fiocruz and the Butantan institute in Sao Paulo, to temporarily pause production of their respective shots.
Fiocruz is making the AstraZeneca PLC vaccine, while Butantan is manufacturing a shot developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd..</p> <p>International drug regulators are investigating reports of extremely rare, but potentially fatal blood clots allegedly caused by the AstraZeneca (AZN.L) COVID-19 vaccine.
Several EU countries have restricted use of the shot.</p> <p>Carlos Lula, the president of the National Council of Health Secretaries (Conass), said about 5 million people had so far not shown up to take their second dose.</p> <p>”Conass is talking to the Health Ministry and seeing what we can do to speed up vaccinations,” he told Reuters.</p> <p>Brazil has vaccinated 21.5% of its population with at least one dose, but only 10.5% have received both shots, according to Health Ministry data.
(Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Aurora Ellis)</p></div>
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Brazil vaccination pace slows as production issues halt second doses
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