Imports of India’s Covaxin and Russia’s Sputnik V approved by Brazil
After a marathon meeting that lasted eight hours, the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) of Brazil approved on Friday night the import and use of Covaxin, manufactured by Bharat Biotech. But the approval came with strict conditions which limit the number of doses that can be imported and with restrictions on the use of vaccine in Brazil. The same conditions also apply to Sputnik V of Russia, which was also approved at the same meeting conducted online and broadcast live on the agency’s YouTube channel.
Though the federal Ministry of Health (MoH) has placed an order of 20 million doses with the Indian company, the collegiate board of ANVISA gave its approval, by four votes to one, for the import of four million doses, which can only be used under ‘specific conditions determined by the agency”. “I emphasise that the exceptional and temporary import of the quantity (four million) is authorised, corresponding to doses for immunisation of 1% of our population, within the schedule sent by the Ministry of Health,” said Alex Machado Campos, the director of ANVISA.
The Brazilian ministry had placed the order for the Indian vaccine with much fanfare last year. But on March 31 of this year, ANVISA rejected the application for importing the serum on the grounds of that the Indian company was not “following good manufacturing practices” and there were huge gaps in its data. On May 13, the Brazilian agency gave approval to the company to conduct the phase-3 trials in Brazil for analysis locally.
Brazil exceeded 100 million doses of vaccine against Covid-19 distributed throughout the country since the launch of its national vaccination plan on January 18, the Ministry of Health said. “This is an important mark because it represents the realization of our effort to ensure vaccination to the Brazilian population. We are taking care of lives with a dose of hope,” said Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga, Xinhua reported. To date, the South American country has immunized 54 million people, or a third of the target population, according to the ministry, with the goal of inoculating the entire population by the end of 2021.
The government has contracted more than 600 million doses to be delivered through the end of the year, according to ministry data. This week, the Brazilian government will ship doses of the vaccines to begin the immunization of education workers. The vaccination of the general population has been authorized in descending order of age for people under 60 years old, once the immunization of the most vulnerable priority groups and education workers has been completed.