Brazil ignored Pfizer’s affords of COVID-19 vaccine for months final yr, firm says

2021-05-14 07:00:36

Pfizer repeatedly supplied to promote its COVID-19 vaccine to Brazil’s Well being Ministry between August and November final yr, however obtained no reply from the federal government, Pfizer’s chief govt for Latin America instructed lawmakers on Thursday.

A Senate fee is investigating whether or not President Jair Bolsonaro’s authorities mishandled the pandemic by failing to safe vaccines in time to curb a surge that has killed greater than 430,000 Brazilians — the worst COVID-19 dying toll exterior the USA.

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Pfizer govt Carlos Murillo mentioned that on Sept. 12 the corporate’s CEO despatched a letter to Bolsonaro and others in his cupboard, together with then-health minister Eduardo Pazuello, expressing curiosity in offering Brazil with vaccines.

The letter went unanswered for 2 months, the parliamentary fee has established.

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Pazuello, who was changed final month as criticism mounted over vaccination delays, did not take Pfizer up on its affords final yr as a result of he believed Brazil ought to depend on British and Chinese language vaccines produced within the nation, two sources instructed Reuters.

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Brazil’s president downplays pandemic as dying toll soars

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Manufacturing points and bottlenecks in China have slowed native output of these vaccines. Simply 11% of Brazilian adults have been absolutely vaccinated.

Pazuello is because of testify earlier than the fee on Might 19.

In his weekly stay web broadcast on Thursday, Bolsonaro mentioned Brazil secured a greater deal this yr than what was supplied by Pfizer earlier, citing authorized and well being uncertainties because the vaccine had but to obtain regulatory approval final yr.

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The Brazilian authorities ultimately negotiated with Pfizer for 100 million doses in a contract signed in March, with the primary 1 million doses arriving in late April.

One other lot of 628,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine landed in Brazil from Belgium on Wednesday, the Well being Ministry mentioned, including that it has to this point distributed 1.6 million doses of the shot within the nationwide immunization program.

Murillo mentioned Pfizer is about to signal a contract for 100 million extra doses for supply to Brazil within the fourth quarter.

(Reporting by Anthony Boadle and Maria Carolina Marcello; Enhancing by Brad Haynes and Invoice Berkrot)

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