Brazil signs agreement to produce Chinese coronavirus vaccine with trials beginning next m
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Brazil is second only to the US in coronavirus cases with more than 770,000 confirmed infections and nearly 40,000 deaths. In Sao Paulo, 9,000 volunteers have signed up for a vaccine trial beginning next month. State Governor Joao Doria said: “The studies show that the vaccine could be distributed by June 2021.
“This agreement would allow us to produce at large scale and immunise millions of Brazilians.”
Sinovac Biotech said last month, it was prepared to produce 100 million doses of the vaccine.
Sao Paulo State University announced last week that a vaccine being developed by a team at Oxford would be tested on 2,000 Brazilian volunteers from mid-June.
Mr Doria admitted: “We have had to overcome Brazil’s disagreements with China, with other countries and with organizations like the WHO.”
President Jair Bolsorano and his Cabinet have been critical of China in recent months.
In March, one of the President’s sons accused Beijing of hiding what it knew about the virus.
Mr Bolsonaro has also threatened to withdraw Brazil from the WHO accusing it of “ideological bias”.
Mr Doria said: “The politicisation of disease has never saved a life, to the contrary.”
Mr Bolsorano has had falling outs with state governors as he has demanded they remove their stay at home orders and allow Brazilians to get back to work and restart the economy.
Mr Doria is the governor of the most economically important state but, in March, he told Paulistas: “Do not follow the guidance of the president.”
Wilson Witzel, Rio de Janeiro’s governor and a former Mr Bolsorano ally said: “So far I’ve been asking, now I am giving an order: don’t leave your home.”
Mr Bolsorano once described coronavirus as a “little flu”.
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He once told Rede TV: “You have to face it like a soldier on the battlefield.”
Once, the President told reporters: “We’ll all die one day.”
In mid-April, Mr Bolsorano sacked Luiz Henrique Mandetta, his health minister.
The President had called for an end to social distracting policies.
Mr Mandetta had defended such politics.
In his farewell press conference, Mr Mandetta urged the President to be guided by science: “Science is light and it is through science that we will find a way out of this.”
The next Brazilian general election is in October 2022.
Elections will be held to elect the President, Vice-President and National Congress.
Mr Bolsorano is by law allowed to stand for a second term, but not a third.
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