Butantan halts CoronaVac vaccine production

coronavac vaccine butantan são paulo
Butantan delivers CoronaVac doses to the Health Ministry. Photo: Govesp

São Paulo’s Butantan Biological Institute has yet to confirm when it will be able to resume production of the CoronaVac vaccine. The institute has run out of inputs as shipments from China have stalled in export clearance. Butantan head Dimas Covas said today’s delivery of 1 million doses to the Health Ministry is the last until further notice.

Mr. Covas says “there will be delays” in vaccine schedules between May and June, at least. 

Earlier this week, São Paulo Governor João Doria blamed President Jair Bolsonaro for the hold up, after his recent verbal attacks on the Asian country. Last week, Mr. Bolsonaro suggested China could have developed the coronavirus in a laboratory and disseminated it as a tactic of biological warfare for economic gain. 

On Twitter, Mr. Doria said he asked Chinese Ambassador Yang Wanming for help. “There are diplomatic obstacles due to disastrous statements by the federal government. Brazilians do not think like the president,” Mr. Doria said.

Between 1.5 and 2.5 million Brazilians have not taken their second vaccine doses within the recommended interval — with experts fearing this could compromise the efficacy of vaccination efforts.