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Private clinics in Brazil seek an agreement for the Indian Covid vaccine | India News


RIO DE JANEIRO: A Brazilian association of private health clinics said on Sunday that it was negotiating with Indian pharmaceutical company Bharat Biotech to purchase five million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine, which India has just authorized for emergency use.
The Brazilian Association of Vaccine Clinics (ABCVAC) confirmed on its website that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Indian firm for the purchase of its Covaxin vaccine, which is currently in the final stage of clinical trials.
Any final deal would be subject to approval by Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa, which has yet to approve any vaccine against the new coronavirus.
The government of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro faces mounting criticism for delaying a vaccination campaign in Brazil, which has the second-highest death toll in the pandemic, after the United States.
That has left some state governments, and now the private sector, scrambling to try and launch vaccination campaigns on their own.
ABCVAC described its planned deal with Bharat Biotech as a way to ensure that Brazilians who use the private health system, usually the wealthy, have access to a vaccine, even as the government reserves its own initial doses for the public health system and for priority groups such as healthcare workers and the elderly.
“We were looking for solutions for the private market and the possibility of using this Indian vaccine came up, which is very promising,” ABCVAC president Geraldo Barbosa told Globo News television.
“It is an additional sale that will not interfere with the number of doses of vaccines that the government has ordered.”
Representatives from ABCVAC will travel to India on Monday to continue negotiations, the association said.
He said his clinics could begin vaccinating people in the second half of March, pending the conclusion of clinical trials and regulatory approval from Anvisa.
India approved vaccines from both Bharat and Britain’s Oxford University early Sunday for “restricted use in emergency situations,” though the former is still in testing.
The country has set an ambitious goal of vaccinating 300 million of its 1.3 billion people by mid-year.
Meanwhile, Brazil is fighting to get its vaccination campaign off the ground, amid political disputes and skepticism about Bolsonaro’s vaccines.
The president regularly flouts advice from experts on how to contain the pandemic and says he doesn’t plan to get vaccinated against Covid-19 himself.
The government has obtained 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccine, but has not yet obtained regulatory approval or purchased the necessary syringes.
The Brazilian Ministry of Health has not yet announced the start date of its vaccination campaign.
Early Sunday, Anvisa authorized the importation of the first two million doses of the Oxford vaccine, pending approval for use.
Many accuse the government of waiting too long.
The situation has become “intolerable,” Supreme Court Justice Gilmar Mendes said in a scorching tweet.
“Neighboring countries have already started their vaccination campaigns. It is urgent that we establish a timetable to do the same. Ignorance must not prevail over science,” he wrote.
There are warning signs that the virus is on the rise again in Brazil.
Experts say the country of 212 million people is being hit by a second wave, and areas that once appeared to have controlled the virus are again facing a spate of cases and deaths.
That includes the Amazon rainforest state of Amazonas, whose capital Manaus was devastated by the virus last year, with disturbing scenes of mass graves and corpses piled up in refrigerated trucks.
After a hiatus in cases in the second half of 2020, leading some experts to wonder if so many people had been infected that the city achieved “herd immunity,” the virus is now exploding again in the region.
With its morgues overwhelmed, Manaus has redeployed refrigerated trucks outside of hospitals to store corpses. A judge on Saturday ordered the Amazon government to shut down all non-essential businesses and activities for 15 days to slow the spread of the virus.
Brazil has registered more than 196,000 deaths from Covid-19.

Times of India