Brazil kicks off rollout of domestically-produced AstraZeneca vaccines

astrazeneca Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga. Photo: Marcelo Camargo/ABr
Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga. Photo: Marcelo Camargo/ABr

The Health Ministry delivered the first batch of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine shots made in Brazil on Tuesday. The federally-run Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) will now be able to produce the immunizer’s active pharmaceutical ingredient without depending on the British-Swedish company, as part of a 2021 technology transfer deal.

The government has ordered 45 million doses produced domestically for 2022, with the first delivery containing 550,000 jabs. Fiocruz, meanwhile, has already produced enough raw materials to bottle 25 million doses.

Since the beginning of Brazil’s vaccine rollout in early 2021, the country has suffered several hiccups due to input shortages. The government says that producing the vaccine in Brazil from start to finish will further accelerate the immunization campaign. 

So far, almost 80 percent of the population has taken at least one jab, with 72 percent having completed their first vaccination cycle.