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Brazil urges India to speed up export of Covid vaccine

Brazil has asked India to expedite a shipment of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine as coronavirus cases surge in the country and President Jair Bolsonaro government comes under criticism for not rolling out the immunisation campaign at the desired pace.

Bolsonaro has written a letter to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard, a copy of which was released to the press by his office.

Brazil has been let down by the Chinese vaccine candidate which was undergoing trials in the country and now wants to switch to the more reliable AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine which is also being produced by the Serum Institute of India at Pune.

“To enable the immediate implementation of our National Immunization Program, I would appreciate the supply to Brazil, with the possible urgency and without jeopardizing the Indian vaccination program, of 2 million doses,” Bolsonaro wrote in the letter, shared by his press office.

His message to Modi comes as the federally funded Fiocruz biomedical center said on Friday that the active ingredients needed to fill and finish millions of doses of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine in Brazil, previously slated to arrive in the country on Saturday, may not land until the end of the month.

Fiocruz, which was counting on the shipment Saturday to supply the government with doses this month, said it was in talks to import more finished doses of the vaccine, likely from India on top of the 2 million it has already ordered.

Earlier, Fiocruz requested an emergency use authorization for AstraZeneca vaccines coming from India, which are expected to arrive in Brazil in the middle of this month..