Brazil on Thursday received 600 liters of Chinese-produced COVID-19 inactivated vaccine concentrate, for São Paulo’s plan to inject its state citizens in a mass vaccination in January. The vaccine will assist Brazil in its battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 175,000 nationwide.
São Paulo’s governor Joan Doria expected the vaccine will get the approval by Brazilian National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) despite the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has touted US-produced vaccines while slammed Chinese vaccines and claimed ‘victory’ after sudden suspension of Chinese vaccine trials in November.
The 600 liters of vaccine concentrate will be packaged and labelled at Brazilian research partner Butantan’s facilities, pending regulatory approval, and will provide for 50 million people with two doses for each person, the Global Times learned from the Chinese producer Sinovac on Friday.
It is the second batch of the Chinese vaccine after 120,000 doses arrived in November. São Paulo’s governor Joan Doria was at the airport on Thursday to welcome its arrival, according to the company.
To save vaccine package materials such as bottles and corks, more Chinese vaccine producers, including another frontrunner company CanSino, are preparing to export the vaccine as raw pulp instead of complete, bottled vaccines, a senior expert working with SF Express, who is in charge of COVID-19 vaccine global logistics but prefers not to be named, told the Global Times on Friday.
ANVISA has received the data of the late-stage trials in Brazil and is in the process of evaluating it.
Results are expected to be released by December 14, São Paulo’s governor Joan Doria said at a conference on Thursday.
Tests in Brazil have been coordinated since July by São Paulo-based Butantan Institute in 16 scientific research centers spread across seven Brazilian states and the Federal District, according to a statement Butantan Institute previously sent to the Global Times.
In November, the first batch of 120,000 doses arrived in São Paulo, making Brazil the first country in Latin America to receive a vaccine against the coronavirus.
The State Government expects Butantan will obtain ANVISA’s approval of the immunizer by January 2021 and apply a mass inoculation for São Paulo citizens with the Chinese-developed vaccine. These two batches of CoronaVac doses are under storage for further mass vaccination across the state.
The clinical study has reached the level necessary to open research and analyze the effectiveness of the vaccine named CoronaVac. To date, 74 volunteers have become infected, a number higher than the minimum required for this stage, which provided for at least 61 contaminated participants, Butantan Institute said in the statement.
Brazil’s Senate later on Thursday approved a presidential decree that appropriates 2 billion reais ($388 million) to buy the vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, Reuters reported. The funds will go to the federal biomedical center Fiocruz to buy and later produce the British vaccine in Brazil.
Bolsonaro, who was tagged as a pro-US politician, also a political rivalry of Joan Doria, was under fire for accusing the Chinese-produced vaccine and politicizing the immunization, especially during the temporary trials halt due to a suicide unrelated to the vaccine of a voluntary participant in mid-November.
As some regard Brazil as “a new battlefield for US and Chinese vaccine diplomacy,” Doria suggested that it will be a “crime” if the federal government and the Ministry of Health (MOH) rejected the Chinese vaccine and exclude Sao Paulo’s people outside national immunization program “for a political reason.”
São Paulo Governor Joan Doria said at Thursday’s press meeting that immunizations in his state would begin in January, which means the state plans to initiate mass inoculation ahead of the national plan scheduled to start in March.
“We are not going to wait for March and we are not going to bury more Brazilians just to wait, when we could be saving more than 60 thousand lives as of January,” Doria said.
Dimas Covas, the head of the Butantan Institute, said at the press meeting that he could foresee the possibility of the federal health ministry incorporating CoronaVac in the Brazilian national immunization program to apply it across various states. .
“As previously expressed by [the] MOH, there is the interest of MOH in acquiring these vaccines as long as they are available and registered with ANVISA… I am very optimistic, I know that this is the best option for Brazil said Covas
Doria said in Thursday’s press meeting that São Paulo will carry out a communication campaign in January, informing citizens about immunization and showing the values and safety of CoronaVac.