Therapy Areas: Vaccines
Brazil's health regulator clears emergency use of Sinovac and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines
18 January 2021 -

The health regulator of Brazil, Anvisa, approved the COVID-19 vaccines from China's Sinovac Biotech Ltd and British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for emergency use, on 17 January 2021, Reuters news agency reported on Monday.

Reportedly, minutes after Anvisa's board voted unanimously to approve both vaccines, Monica Calazans, a 54-year-old nurse in Sao Paulo, became the first person to be inoculated in the country, receiving the Chinese vaccine known as CoronaVac.

The government of Brazil aims to kick off a national immunization programme this week but is waiting on shipments of the AstraZeneca vaccine at the centre of its plans.

Brazil's Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello told a news conference that the rush to start vaccinating immediately was an illegal "marketing ploy" and the government would start distributing the vaccines to states on 18 January 2021, with the nationwide immunization plan beginning on 20 January 2021.

In a statement, Butantan biomedical centre (Butantan), that has partnered with Sinovac in Brazil, said it is set up to fill and finish CoronaVac doses on its production line. It also said it plans to supply 46 million doses of the two-dose shot by April 2021. About six million doses are ready to go.

The federally funded Fiocruz institute is still waiting for a delayed shipment of the active ingredient in the AstraZeneca vaccine for finishing on a Rio de Janeiro assembly line.

Brazil's Health Ministry has rushed to line up two million ready doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from India, but officials there have suggested it may take weeks to approve exports.

Pazuello said on 18 January 2021 that he expected the doses from India this week.

Reportedly, Brazil could eventually vaccinate one million people per day.