Brazil, Bolivia get AstraZeneca Covid-19 jabs from India
BRASILIA (AFP) - Amid the global scramble for coronavirus vaccines, Brazil said Wednesday (Jan 13) it would import two million doses of AstraZenecas Covishield jab from India.
The biggest country in Latin America is the second-hardest hit globally by the pandemic, as the novel coronavirus has killed more than 204,000 people out of Brazils population of 212 million.
Brazil has sent a plane to India, equipped with special freezers, to fetch the AstraZeneca vaccines - developed by the British-Swedish pharmaceutical firm in conjunction with Oxford University - a health ministry statement said.
The plane should be back on Saturday - the day before Brazils Anvisa health regulator is meant to announce whether or not it will give the green light for Covishield and CoronaVac to be rolled out in a nation-wide inoculation campaign.
"We will vaccinate in January and Manaus will be the first to be vaccinated," said Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello, referring to the hard-hit city in the Amazon rainforest.
In Manaus, where there were haunting scenes last April of mass graves and corpses piled in refrigerator trucks, the health system is once again saturated as Brazil battles a second wave of infections.
The shot is at the centre of a political dispute between President Jair Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly tried to discredit it, and Sao Paulo state Governor Joao Doria, who backs it.