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Coronavirus

Brazil State Eyeing Late January Vaccinations

December 7, 2020

RIO DE JANEIRO — The governor of Brazil’s Sao Paulo state said Monday he's hopeful that vaccination against the novel coronavirus can begin on Jan. 25.

“We’re not turning our backs on the national vaccination plan, but we need to be more agile, and so we’re anticipating,” said Gov. João Doria, whose state is home to 46 million people. “Why start vaccination that saves the lives of millions only in March, if we can do it in January? We’re losing more than 600 lives every day,” he told reporters.

The potential CoronaVac vaccine is being developed by Chinese biopharmaceutical firm Sinovac and would be mostly produced by Sao Paulo’s state-run Butantan Institute. It has yet to be approved by Brazil’s health regulator, Anvisa.

Assuming CoronaVac is approved, the first phase of Sao Paulo’s program would provide two shots free of charge to 9 million people, of whom 7.5 million are over 60 years old, according to Doria’s presentation. The remaining 1.5 million are health workers, members of Indigenous groups and people in communities descended from escaped slaves. Those four groups have accounted for about three-quarters of Sao Paulo’s deaths since the start of the pandemic.

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