Butantan vaccine factory suffers delays

Butantan's new vaccine facility is behind schedule. Photo: Govesp
Butantan’s new vaccine facility is behind schedule. Photo: Govesp

Construction works for a new facility built by the Butantan Biological Institute to produce the CoronaVac Covid-19 vaccine have missed the deadline initially announced by the São Paulo state government. It remains unclear when the facility will be ready. 

The initial timetable set a deadline of September 30 for the conclusion of construction works, but the facility remains unfinished. Finance newspaper Valor noted that neither Butantan nor Comunitas — the non-profit organization hired to manage the project — provided a specific deadline for the conclusion. 

The factory is being built in an unfinished space initially designated for the production of hemoderivatives. Its conversion into a vaccine factory was funded by BRL 189 million (USD 35 million) in company donations.  

While the facility is invaluable for public health in the region — with the Butantan Institute willing to export the jabs to Latin America — it is also an important political project. São Paulo Governor João Doria expected to have the first jabs produced as early as December, in time for the start of the 2022 electoral campaign.