Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has asked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speed-up the delivery of initial doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine. Bolsonaro, in a letter to PM Modi, requested to look into the speedy delivery of 2 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to Brazil without jeopardizing the Indian vaccination programme. This comes amid pressure on the Brazilian government to roll-out COVID-19 vaccines in the country as new cases and deaths continue to mount.
On December 31, an application for the import of two million doses from India by the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) was approved by the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa), which is Brazil's primary medicines regulatory body. Brazil's Health and Foreign Ministries had earlier said that negotiations between Fiocruz and the Serum Institute of India (SII) for importing the AstraZeneca-Oxford's COVID-19 vaccine are at an advanced stage, with a probable delivery date in mid-January. However, when reports emerged that active ingredients needed to finish millions of doses, vaccine in Brazil may not arrive until the end of the month.
Pressure started mounting on the Brazilian government, who later informed that finished doses of AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine from India will reach the country by mid-January. Fiocruz had applied for emergency use authorisation for the doses arriving from India, so the government could start the vaccination process as soon as it reaches the country. Brazil is one of the most affected countries by the COVID-19 pandemic with over 8 million confirmed cases and more than 2,00,000 deaths. Brazil recorded more than 52,000 new cases on January 8, while 962 people died in the last 24 hours.