Brazilian health regulator Anvisa on Sunday approved emergency use of COVID-19 vaccines from China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd and Britain’s AstraZeneca, clearing the way for immunizations as the pandemic enters a deadly second wave.
The doses will be distributed throughout all of Brazil’s 28 states.
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 Chinese vaccine known as CoronaVac.
Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello told reporters that the national vaccination programme in the country of 211 million people would begin in earnest in the coming days. Two Brazilian biomedical centres which have been given approval to produce the jabs will be heavily involved.
President Jair Bolsonaro, a coronavirus skeptic 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.
Story compiled with assistance from Reuters and BBC