SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazil has fully approved the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE, its health regulators said on Tuesday, although disagreements over a supply deal mean neither side can initiate an immunization program.
This is the first coronavirus injection to receive full approval in Brazil, said regulator Anvisa. The vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and China Sinovac Biotech Ltd, is only approved for emergency use.
The agreement is good news for a country whose immunization campaign has been plagued by delays and political bickering. However, it is unclear if this will pave the way for a supply deal for the highly effective shoots that are being rolled out globally.
“We look forward to moving forward in our negotiations with the Brazilian government to support immunization of the country’s population,” said Pfizer Brazil boss Marta Diez in a statement, without providing further details.
Brazil’s Ministry of Health did not respond to a request for comment.
President Jair Bolsonaro has criticized the terms of the deal proposed by Pfizer, saying the deal was too burdensome because it freed US companies from potential liability for unforeseen problems. Pfizer said other countries, including Brazil’s Latin American neighbors, have agreed to the terms.
Reporting by Eduardo Simoes. Written by Gabriel Stargardter. Edited by Mark Potter and John Stonestreet