Hours after India approved its two leading vaccine contenders, a Brazilian association of private health clinics has evinced interest in buying five million doses of Bharat Biotech’s Covid-19 vaccine.
The Brazilian Association of Vaccine Clinics (ABCVAC) has confirmed that it was negotiating with the Indian pharmaceutical company and that they have signed a memorandum of understanding for purchasing its Covaxin vaccine.
Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech’s (BB) Covaxin, was earlier granted approval for “restricted use in emergency situations”.
Bharat Biotech’s vaccine is currently in the final stage of clinical trials.
The deal with Bharat Biotech is aimed at ensuring the Brazilians — typically the wealthy — use the private health system and have access to a vaccine.
Any deal will require approval by Brazil’s health regulator, Anvisa. The entity is yet to approve any vaccines against coronavirus.
This comes despite the government reserving its own initial doses for the public health system and high-priority groups, including health workers and the elderly.
In a statement, ABCVAC president Geraldo Barbosa told TV network Globo News: “We had been looking for solutions for the private market, and the possibility came up of using this Indian vaccine, which is very promising.”
He further added: “It‘s an additional sale that will not interfere with the quality of vaccine doses the government has ordered.”
The development comes amidst President growing criticism against President Jair Bolsonaro-led government for dragging its feet on a vaccination campaign in the country.
The Latin American country that has the second highest death toll due to coronavirus, is yet to get its vaccination campaign off the ground.
The Brazilian health minister is set to announce the start date of vaccination campaign on Monday.
Many also reel from vaccine scepticism from Bolsonaro, who flouts expert advice to contain the pandemic as he rules out getting himself inoculated with Covid-19 shot.
A hundred million doses of Oxford vaccine is sought by the government but are yet to set a start date, get regulatory approval or acquire necessary syringes.