Amid one of his most delicate periods since taking office, President Jair Bolsonaro said this Friday that the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccines imported from India’s Serum Institute will start to be distributed to several Brazilian states on Saturday, after arriving in São Paulo. An aircraft containing the shipment left India this afternoon, one day after that country’s government authorized Brazil’s import of 2 million doses.
Mr. Bolsonaro issued this promise in front of the presidential palace today, demonstrating a U-turn in the president’s anti-vaccine discourse. “People said I was against the vaccine. I was against the vaccine without [regulatory] approval. After the approval, I have nothing more to do except distributing the vaccine,” he said.
Several states in Brazil have begun vaccination and the country hopes to immunize 2 million more people in at-risk groups with the incoming shipment from India. The government is also awaiting the arrival of more vaccines by way of the UN-backed COVAX Facility initiative. According to PanAmerican Health Organization Assistant Director Jarbas Barbosa, the first doses will come in March, with Brazil receiving around 20 million units.Support this coverage →