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Sao Paulo state gets 1 mln doses of China candidate vaccine

·1 min read

SAO PAULO, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Brazil's Butantan Institute biomedical center on Thursday received 1 million doses of a Chinese vaccine developed by Sinovac Biotech that is undergoing late-stage testing by the institute in Sao Paulo state.

The materials for the CoronaVac vaccine, which will be packaged and labeled at Butantan's facilities, arrived at Sao Paulo's Guarulhos airport.

It is the second shipment of the vaccine, which still needs approval from federal health regulator Anvisa before it can be used, to arrive in Brazil, after 120,000 doses landed from China on Nov. 19.

"By the end of this month of December, we will be receiving 6 million doses," and another 40 million by Jan. 15, Sao Paulo Governor João Doria said.

President Jair Bolsonaro, who many expect to be challenged by Doria in the 2022 presidential election, has long criticized the Sinovac vaccine.

Doria, meanwhile, has accused Anvisa of or becoming overly politicized after a surprise suspension of the Sinovac trial due to the suicide of a volunteer. The trial was restarted but the president called the halt a "victory" for Bolsonaro.

Anvisa said on Wednesday it was open to approving COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use, that authorizations would be analyzed on a case-by-case basis and that to be considered the vaccine must be in late-stage trials in Brazil. It said no requests had been received so far. (Reporting by Leonardo Benassatto; editing by John Stonestreet)