The state of São Paulo, in Brazil, is scheduled to launch on 15 December the campaign to vaccinate its population for Covid-19, starting with health professionals, using Chinese-developed vaccine SinoVac, according to state Governor João Doria.
Doria was speaking on wednesday at the signature of the contract between the state government and Chinese laboratory Sinovac to supply the first batch of CoronaVac, developed in partnership with Brazil´s Butantan Institute.
According to the USD 90 million deal, São Paulo will receive 46 million doses by December, mostly produced in Brazil at a new Butantan vaccine factory. Of the 46 million doses, six million will come from China and the other 40 million will be produced in São Paulo by Butantan.
Doria cautioned that, in order for the vaccination campaign for health professionals to start on 15 December, CoronaVac needs the approval of Anvisa, the National Health Surveillance Agency.
Even though CoronaVac is still waiting for clearance for the supply of the immunizer by SUS, the Unified Health System, Governor João Doria said he sees “no reason why the Minister of Health should not act in this regard”.
There is also an understanding for the supply of another 14 million doses by February 2021, thus totaling 60 million doses. Doria added he is counting on financial assistance from the federal government for the additional doses.
Weining Meng, Sinovac’s world vice president, said after signing the document that the intention of the Chinese laboratory is that the vaccine produced in partnership with Butantan reaches the entire country.
The Sinovac representative recalled that the production in the country by Butantan can help produce the immunizing agent cheaper. “Brazil is a large country, has a population of 200 million inhabitants, needs a lot of vaccines and with local production it is able to do this, making the price more accessible”, sais Meng.
“Working with Butantan, our target is simple: to bring enough vaccines to Brazil. An affordable vaccine to benefit everyone in the country. We hope in the future, along with our vaccine, there are other contributions, allowing people to return to normal life, take the masks off and have a happier life “, said Meng.
Although it has not yet completed the phase 3 tests in Brazil, which ensure the effectiveness of the vaccine, CoronaVac has already proven itself safe in previous phase tests, according to the representatives of the laboratories that participated in the conference.
In China, more than 50,000 volunteers were tested and only 5.36% had adverse effects. In Brazil, phase 3 studies are expected to involve 13,000 volunteers.
Butantan’s director, Dimas Covas, said there are already 7 thousand people vaccinated with CoronaVac in the country. The schedule is to finish this stage on October 15th and submit the data to Anvisa.
The agency must speed up the analysis and the director of Butantan is working with the forecast that the opinion will be concluded by November. “We hope that by the end of November this data will be available to allow the vaccine to be registered,” said Dimas Covas.
Other than São Paulo, Sinovac´s Covid-19 vaccine could reach other of the South American country´s regions, according to officials.