Brazil's federally funded Fiocruz Institute said on Saturday it had begun distributing 2 million ready-to-use AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines. Picture: Dado Ruvic/Reuters
Brazil's federally funded Fiocruz Institute said on Saturday it had begun distributing 2 million ready-to-use AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines. Picture: Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Brazil's Fiocruz begins distributing 2 million India-made AstraZeneca shots

By Reuters Time of article published Jan 23, 2021

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By Paula Laier

INTERNATIONAL - Brazil's federally funded Fiocruz Institute said on Saturday it had begun distributing 2 million ready-to-use AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines after they arrived in the country from India on Friday.

Brazil's government has a deal with AstraZeneca to produce up to 100 million doses of its vaccine locally at Rio de Janeiro's Fiocruz Institute, but delivery of the active ingredient needed to manufacture them has been plagued by delays from China.

As a result, AstraZeneca agreed to supply the government with 2 million ready-to-use doses made in India. After a major diplomatic effort, that included a letter from Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi,those shots arrived on Friday.

Until now, Brazil's widely criticized vaccine rollout has depended on a shot developed by Sinovac Biotech vaccine in partnership with Sao Paulo's Butantan Institute.

Bolsonaro had previously decried the Chinese shot as being useless, but his government is becoming increasingly reliant on it to tame the world's second most deadly coronavirus outbreak after the United States.

The far-right former army captain is under growing pressure for his handling of the rollout, which has been plagued by delays and a lack of vaccines, just as a brutal second wave gathers steam.

REUTERS

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