Brazil Approves Two COVID-19 Vaccines For Emergency Use

Brazil has authorized its first two COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use, the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) announced on Jan. 17.

Brazil has authorized its first two COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use, the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) announced on Jan. 17.

In a unanimous vote after nearly five hours of deliberations, the Collegiate Board of ANVISA has granted emergency approval for the Covishield vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University and the CoronaVac developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech.

ANVISA authorized Covishield for use of two million doses. According to efficacy results published last December, it was found to be 62% effective for the participants who were given two full doses and 90% effective for the participants who were given a half dose first then a full dose next.

Meanwhile, ANVISA authorized CoronaVac for use of 6 million doses imported from India’s Serum Institute by Brazil’s Oswaldo Cruz Foundation. The Chinese vaccine had shown a 50.4% efficacy rate, hardly surpassing the 50% minimum set by the World Health Organization.

Sao Paulo Governor Joao Doria, who oversees the Butantan Institute that partnered with Sinovac, promised to make the vaccines available to the federal health ministry for a nationwide distribution and said that mass vaccinations could start immediately.

“Today is V day. It is the day of the vaccine. It is the day of truth. It is the day of victory. It is the day of life,” Doria said at a news conference after the approval.

Minutes after the vote, 54-year-old intensive care unit nurse Monica Calazans received the CoronaVac, becoming the first person in Brazil to be vaccinated.

The approval comes as Brazil has identified a COVID-19 variant that shares similar characteristics with those found in the United Kingdom and in South Africa.

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, Brazil has recorded over 8 million COVID-19 cases and over 209,000 deaths.


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