Brazil's health agency approves the use of two vaccines

Brazils health agency approves the use of two vaccines

Rio de Janeiro: Brazil's health regulator on Sunday approved the urgent use of Coronavirus vaccines made by Sinovac and AstraZeneca, enabling Latin Americas largest nation to begin an immunisation program that's been subject to months of delay and political disputes.

Brazil currently has 6 million doses of Sinovacs CoronaVac vaccine ready to distribute in the next few days, and is awaiting the arrival of another 2 million doses of the vaccine made by AstraZeneca and partner Oxford University.

This is good news for Brazil, but 6 million doses are still very few. It will not allow the entire population at risk to be fully immunised, nor is it clear how quickly the country will obtain more vaccines, said Ethel Maciel, an epidemiologist at the Federal University of Espirito Santo.

On Saturday night, the health regulator Anvisa rejected an application for use of a Russian vaccine called Sputnik V, submitted by Brazilian company Uni o Qu mica. Anvisa said it didnt evaluate the application because it didnt meet minimum requirements to start an analysis. Vaccination in Brazil is beginning later than neighbours such as Argentina and Chile despite a robust public health system and decades of experience with immunisation campaigns.

The process to present and approve the COVID-19 vaccines was fraught with conflict, as allies of President Jair Bolsonaro sought to cast doubt on the efficacy of the Sinovac shot backed by his political rival, Sao Paulo states Gov. Jo o Doria.

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