Congressman says he warned Bolsonaro about “criminal” Covaxin deal

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Right-wing congressman Luis Miranda told reporters on Wednesday that he personally warned President Jair Bolsonaro that the Health Ministry’s February deal to purchase 20 million doses of the Indian-made Covaxin coronavirus vaccine was riddled with illegalities.

Mr. Miranda’s brother — who served as head of imports at the ministry — told federal prosecutors he was put under “abnormal” pressure to greenlight the deal, despite doubts regarding the efficacy of Covaxin, its higher price, and longer delivery estimates.

“The president knew there was something criminal about it,” Mr. Miranda told CNN Brasil. He added that the president had promised to “immediately” put the Federal Police on the case to investigate.

The government agreed to pay BRL 80.70 per dose of Covaxin, four times more than the average cost of AstraZeneca vaccines. Moreover, documents from the Foreign Affairs Ministry show the government bought the vaccines at a price 1,000 percent higher than the manufacturer itself had announced six months earlier.