Jair Bolsonaro overrules his Health Minister and says he will not buy the Chinese vaccine against the coronavirus

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The president announced that the government will not buy the Sinovac vaccine despite the fact that General Eduardo Pazuello signed a protocol to purchase 46 million doses of such immunizer for 427 million dollars.

Different Brazilian sectors asked the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, on Wednesday not to turn the acquisition of the coronavirus vaccine into a new electoral and ideological dispute, after his decision to veto the purchase of the Chinese immunizer for alleged political reasons.

The vast majority of regional governors and party leaders, including some government officials, criticized the far-right leader’s veto on the vaccine developed by the Chinese company Sinovac in an apparent decision to prevent such a deal from favoring political rivals.

The head of state announced on his social networks that the Brazilian government will not buy the Sinovac vaccine despite the fact that his Health Minister, Army General Eduardo Pazuello, signed a protocol of intentions the day before to acquire 46 million doses of such immunizer for a value of 427 million dollars.

Bolsonaro alleged that the Government can’t compromise with the purchase of a vaccine whose efficacy and safety has not been previously verified by the Ministry of Health or certified by the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa).

The so-called “Coronavac” is developed and tested in Brazil by Sinovac in association with the Butantan Institute, a scientific institution linked to the state of São Paulo, whose governor, Joao Doria, is a major political rival of Bolsonaro and one of his likely adversaries in the 2022 presidential elections.

“The Brazilian people will not be anyone’s guinea pig. A billionaire financial contribution is not justified in a medicine that did not even pass the testing phase, “said the head of state in a comment on his social networks and in which, when making it clear that his decision has political connotation, he referred to the Coronavac as “Joao Doria’s Chinese vaccine.”

After a meeting on Tuesday with different governors, including Doria, Pazuello affirmed who had signed a protocol of intentions to acquire Chinese medicine and expand the offer of vaccines against the coronavirus that will be offered to Brazilians.

The Government had already agreed with the AstraZeneca company and the University of Oxford the purchase of 100 million doses of the vaccine that both are developing, and also joined the Covax initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO) to award another 40 million doses.

Despite the fact that the Oxford vaccine has not been scientifically proven and is in the same testing phase as Sinovac’s, Bolsonaro bet on the English and Doria on the Chinese.

The Butantan Institute, which will produce the Chinese vaccine in Brazil, has already published part of the results of the studies that show that the Sinovac product it is one of the safest in the world.

The two vaccines are massively tested in Brazil, which, with its 212 million inhabitants, it is the second country with the most deaths from covid-19 in the world after the United States, with about 155,000 deaths, and the third with the most cases after the United States and India, with almost 5.3 million infections.

Doria, one of the first to react to Bolsonaro’s veto, asked the president to opt for the union and not for the dispute in Brazil’s war against the coronavirus.

“Take the opportunity to ask the president to have greatness and lead Brazil in favor of health and the recovery of jobs. Our war is against the coronavirus, it is not a political dispute or a war against each other, “said the governor of the most populous and industrialized state in Brazil.

“I want Brazilians to be vaccinated to save them all. Not out of ideology or politics. It is not the electoral process that will save us but the vaccine“he added.

Other governors spoke in the same direction, mainly those of the center and left.

The governor of Espíritu Santo, Renato Casagrande, expressed his surprise at the veto and said that the important thing is that the authorities come together to save lives and forget the electoral differences.


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