Covid-19: Second doses run dry in Brazil’s scramble to vaccinate 

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(BBC) Vinicius Alexis da Cruz felt a wave of relief when his turn came to take the Covid-19 vaccine.

As the virus ravaged Brazil, the 32-year-old had spent more than a year risking his life, working as an Uber driver. Diabetes and high blood pressure made Mr Cruz especially vulnerable. But he kept driving passengers across São Paulo to make ends meet.

“I was really scared of getting sick,” said the father of one, who lost his job as a sports commentator before the pandemic hit. “But I was taking the risk because I had to keep working.”

Mr Cruz got his first dose of CoronaVac in late May. But when the time came to get his second jab, he was turned away. “Nobody had a vaccine for me,” he said. “I went to five clinics near my house. I couldn’t find it anywhere. The same thing happened the next day, and the day after that.”

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He scoured the city for four days before he got his hands on a second shot. “Finally, I’m fully vaccinated. But it became really clear to me just how short we are on vaccines.”

Like Mr Cruz, millions are struggling to get their second shot of the Covid-19 vaccine, dealing a blow to Brazil’s already troubled vaccination campaign. Some 3.1 million Brazilians had not had their second jab as of 4 July despite being eligible for it, according to researchers tracking vaccinations.

Some have intentionally skipped their second dose, falling for misinformation campaigns that have sowed doubts about the vaccine or claimed a single shot offers enough protection. But the main hurdle has been a supply crunch of doses driven by a rushed vaccine rollout, said Dr Ligia Bahia, a public health specialist at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

“There is this drive to speed up vaccination with the first dose,” said Dr Bahia, one of the researchers tracking immunisations. “And the second dose has ended up on the backburner.”

Coronavirus has claimed more than 530,000 lives in Brazil, a toll second only to the United States. Yet only about 40% of Brazilians have received at least one dose of the vaccine and just 15% are fully immunised.



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