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São Paulo, Brazil, is likely to start COVID-19 immunization in December



Eduardo Simões (Eduardo Simões)

São Paulo (Reuters)-The governor of the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo, João Doria, said on Wednesday that the state may begin using China’s Sinovac vaccine to vaccinate the COVID-19 vaccine in mid-December, pending regulatory approval.

Brazil has the third highest number of coronavirus cases in the world, causing vaccine manufacturers to look for the largest country in South America to test their candidates.

São Paulo is one of the locations for the Phase III clinical trial of the Sinovac vaccine conducted by the Butantan Institute, a leading national biomedical research center.

Doria said at a press conference that 5 million doses of the vaccine are expected to reach the country̵

7;s most populous state of Sao Paulo in October. The state has reached an agreement with Sinovac to deliver 60 million doses of vaccine by the end of February, which Doria said is enough to vaccinate the entire population of the state.

Xing Han, Sinovac’s head of Latin America, said the results of the phase III trial should be announced within two months.

Brazilian state governments have been actively seeking vaccine manufacturers, and Bahia and Paraná states have reached an agreement to test, purchase or produce the Russian Sputnik 5 vaccine.

Pfizer and its partner BioNTech received approval from Brazilian regulators last week to expand their vaccine trials in São Paulo and Bahia.

The vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University has a production and distribution agreement with Fiocruz, the Federal Institute of Biomedical Research, and the Federal University of Sao Paulo is also testing it in Brazil.

(Reporting by Eduardo Simoes in Sao Paulo, writing by Carolina Mandl and Jake Spring; editing by Stephen Eisenhammer and Matthew Lewis)


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