Coronavirus: Brazil begins COVID-19 vaccination campaign

All Brazil’s available vaccine doses will be distributed to the country’s states on Monday, health minister Eduardo Pazuello said, with vaccinations able to start from 5 p.m. (2000 GMT).

The states had asked the government to bring forward the rollout of the only vaccine available – the CoronaVac shot made by China’s Sinovac Biotech and imported by the Butantan biomedical center in Sao Paulo.
The vaccination plan was initially due to start on January 20.

Brazilian health regulator Anvisa on Sunday approved emergency use of COVID-19 vaccines from Sinovac and Britain’s AstraZeneca, clearing the way for immunizations as the pandemic enters a deadly second wave.

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 CoronaVac vaccine.

President Jair Bolsonaro, a coronavirus sceptic who has refused to take a vaccine himself, is under growing pressure to start inoculations in Brazil, which has lost more than 200,000 to COVID-19 – the worst death toll outside the United States.

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