Brazil, currently one of the hardest-hit countries in the world by the pandemic, has launched its mass vaccination campaign against the novel coronavirus, Minister of Health Eduardo Pazuello said.
The initial plan was to begin nationwide vaccination on Wednesday, but the date was moved up on Monday in response to the request of state governors, Xinhua news agency quoted Pazuello as saying on Monday.
“The governors asked that as soon as (the vaccines) arrive in the states, they have the freedom to begin vaccination,” the Minister of Health added.
By Monday afternoon, all states were expected to have received their doses of the CoronaVac vaccine developed by Chinese laboratory Sinovac in collaboration with the Butantan Institute of Sao Paulo.
Brazil has distributed around 6 million doses, with over 4.6 million by the federal government and 1.3 million by the local government of Sao Paulo.
The country’s Health Regulatory Agency (Anvisa) on Sunday authorized the emergency use of the CoronaVac vaccine, as well as the AstraZeneca-University of Oxford vaccine against Covid-19.
Immediately following Anvisa’s authorization, the government of Sao Paulo, the epicentre of Brazil’s Covid-19 outbreak, administered the first CoronaVac vaccine to nurse Monica Calazans.
As of Tuesday morning, Brazil’s overall coronavirus caseload and death toll stood at 8,511,770 and 210,299, respectively.
The country’s caseload is the third highest in the world after the US and India, while its death toll is the second largest just after the US.