Brazil’s Covaxin snub affects vaccination in Paraguay

covaxin paraguay
Photo: Talukdar David/Shutterstock

The decision of Brazilian health regulator Anvisa to deny a certificate of best practices to Indian lab Bharat Biotech — responsible for producing the Covaxin vaccine — has already caused spillover effects to vaccination campaigns in neighboring Paraguay.

Without a regulatory authority of its own to sign off on coronavirus vaccines, the government in Asunción bases its own health decisions on those of regulators in Brazil and Mexico. After Anvisa’s snub of Bharat Biotech, Paraguay will be unable to use a batch of 100,000 Covaxin vaccines donated by the Indian government. 

Now, Paraguay is hoping for Brazil to change its mind. However, if Mexico were to sign off on the vaccine, Paraguay would be able to put its doses to good use. A Mexican special committee recommended the use of the vaccine in March, but any moves toward approval have not been made official yet. 

Paraguay needs to speed up its vaccination efforts as soon as possible: amid its worst pandemic days in late March — registering more than 2,000 new daily cases for the first time — the country has vaccinated fewer than 50,000 citizens so far, one of the lowest rates in South America.