Mumbai: In a recent development, Brazil has made a diplomatic push for Indian-made shipment of the British drugmaker AstraZeneca’s vaccine against coronavirus. The largest Latin American nation has signed a preliminary agreement with India Biotech, despite the lack of public results of Latin-stage trials.
Long heralded for its domestic vaccine development programs, Brazil appears at least three or four weeks away from starting any formal vaccination campaign against COVID-19. In contrast, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Costa Rica and other countries in the region have already started giving shots to their populations.
Meanwhile, the country’s coronavirus infection reached a new high in December with more than 7.7 million cases in the country and deaths reaching 200,000, second in the United States.
The lightning rod in Brazil’s vaccine debate is that of President Jair Bolsonaro, who has expressed doubts over all the vaccines being developed despite his government negotiating to get them. He has said he doesn’t plan to get a shot himself and joked at one point that side effects might turn people into crocodiles or bearded ladies.
However, top officials at the Serum Institute of India, the Oxford vaccine developer in India, said that the government will restrict the export of COVID-19 vaccines.
(With Agency Inputs)