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AFP

The Brazilian government is to work with the University of Oxford and the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to produce 100 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine.

Authorities from the Brazilian Ministry of Health said at a press conference that the country would pay $ 127 million and would receive equipment to produce 30.4 million doses in two batches in December and January, which would allow it to start inoculation efforts quickly if the vaccine is certified safe and secure. effective.

The total agreement covers 100 million vaccines for a country of approximately 210 million people. It will be produced by the local vaccine manufacturer Fiocruz.

The first to get vaccinated by Oxford would be high-risk groups such as the elderly, people with co-morbidities, and health and safety professionals.

Arnaldo Correia de Medeiros, secretary for health surveillance, said that distribution will be rapid due to Brazil’s public health system. “This country has extensive experience in extremely rapid immunization,” he said.

British researchers began testing the experimental vaccine in May with the aim of vaccinating more than 10,000 people, including the elderly and children. The vaccine is part of a dozen subjects in the early stages of human testing.

Brazil, where coronavirus infections are still on the rise, has more than one million confirmed cases and more than 55,900 deaths.

Vijay Rangarajan, the British ambassador to Brazil, said the vaccine maker has the capacity to produce 2 billion doses in its first batch, which is expected by the end of the year. But a large part of this world production is already purchased.

Another experimental vaccine under development by Chinese company Sinovac Biotech will be tested in Brazil in July, according to the state government of Sao Paulo. Sinovac has an agreement with the state’s Butantan Institute to produce it. Some 9,000 Brazilians are expected to participate.

World Health Organization chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said Friday that AstraZeneca’s experimental vaccine is probably the world’s first and most advanced candidate for development.

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