Health

Will not buy China's Sinovac vaccine, says Brazilian President

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Jair Bolsonaro. | Moises Lopez  Twitter

Doria fired back that the doses in question would in fact be produced locally by Brazil's own Butantan Institute, the largest vaccine supplier in the country.

São Paulo Governor João Doria said Brazil's federal government had also agreed to buy 46 million doses of CoronaVac, one of at least five vaccines undergoing stage 3 trials in the country, which has the world's third highest infection tally. That inclusion would be contingent on approval by drug regulator Anvisa, he said.

Earlier on Wednesday, the president disallowed Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello, who had announced the intention to purchase the vaccine.

Bolsonaro has said no one will be forced to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

The health ministry attributed the row to a "misinterpretation" of Pazuello's remarks.

President Jair Bolsonaro said on Wednesday, October 21st, on social media that the "Brazilian people will not be anyone's guinea pig" when commenting on the Chinese Coronavac vaccine. Several other governors urged that vaccines be evaluated on science alone.

"The Butantan vaccine is Brazil's vaccine, for all Brazilians".

In June, Brazil's government announced a deal with Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to purchase 100 million doses of its potential coronavirus vaccine.

Quoting the institute authorities, news agency Reuters reported that there were no severe adverse reactions to the vaccine, with 20% of the volunteers reporting mild pain from the injection while 15% reported headaches after the first dose, dropping to 10% for the second.

"It isn't ideology, isn't politics, and isn't the electoral process that saves".

After Bolsonaro's intervention, Doria asked the president leave aside political fights and focus on the pandemic. The president has minimized the gravity of the virus and criticized lockdowns that governors such as Doria have enforced.

The country has so far recorded almost 5.3 million confirmed cases, and is second only to the USA in terms of deaths, with almost 155,000 registered so far.

Inclusion of the Sinovac vaccine, called CoronaVac, in the national vaccination program of a country like Brazil, with 230 million people would have been a major success for the Chinese pharmaceutical company.

Bolsonaro's government has made a decision to buy the United Kingdom vaccine and then produce it as its biomedical research centre FioCruz in Rio de Janeiro.

As of now, the Chinese vaccine has been labelled safe by trials conducted on 9,000 volunteers.

Competing candidates developed by AstraZeneca Plc and Johnson & Johnson have had their trials halted in the United States due to safety issues.

"The U.S. concern is how they use the data, how they use the technology for state benefit, not for the individuals who use that the technology", Joshua Hodges, senior director for Western Hemisphere affairs on the NSC, said in Brasilia.

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