Photos of the China-developed CoronaVac will first be given to medical professionals, people over 60 and the indigenous population, Governor Joao Doria said at a press conference on Monday. Priority groups, which number around 9 million people, will start receiving vaccines on January 25 – the anniversary of the state capital – and the second dose will arrive on February 15. Vaccinations of the elderly population will continue until late. March, with dates varying according to age.
Sao Paulo, which recorded the first case of the virus in Latin America and was the epicenter of the pandemic in Brazil, leads the region in obtaining a vaccine. The local government has reached an agreement with the Chinese company Sinovac Biotech Ltd. to import ready-to-use vaccines and produce them more locally in partnership with Instituto Butantan.
In the rest of the country, a national vaccination plan is in the final stages of preparation, Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello said last week. AstraZeneca Plc’s first firing batches are expected to start arriving in January or February, he said.
While the Sao Paulo government has declared the shot safe and effective, the results of a Phase 3 trial are still not ready. State health officials plan to file documents with the national health regulator, Anvisa, by December 15, later than the initial schedule for the first week of December.
Asked about the delayed vaccination schedule, Dimas Covas, the head of Instituto Butantan, said that “reality has forced change”.
Sao Paulo will also make 4 million doses of the vaccine available to other states, Doria said, adding that eight local governments have already addressed questions about the vaccine.
Residents of other states will be allowed to travel to Sao Paulo to be vaccinated, he said. The vaccines will be distributed through the public health system, known as SUS, and Butantan can sell the vaccine to hospitals and private entities, Doria said in an interview last month.
The CoronaVac has been at the center of widespread controversy in Brazil, with President Jair Bolsonaro saying China lacks credibility in finding solutions to the coronavirus crisis and people would not feel safe with the shooting “due to of its origin ”.
Over the weekend, newspapers reported that state governments wrote a letter to the federal government requesting that all vaccines be made available to Brazilians through the country’s public health system.