Brazil expects to receive 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine Friday in its buildup to launching a mass immunization program.
The vaccine is due to arrive a day after President Jair Bolsonaro fended off criticism by health officials over whether Brazil has enough vaccine to begin its nationwide immunization program.
Bolsonaro, who has long played down the impact of the coronavirus, even after he contracted the disease, said the government will provide the vaccine to all Brazilians free of charge.
However, health officials say the country’s 6 million doses of the China-based Coronavac vaccine and nearly 5 million doses of the vaccine on order is well below what is needed to immunize Brazilians.
A second wave of coronavirus cases and concern over the government’s ability to secure more vaccine prompted the new mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, to tweet Thursday that it will not be possible to host annual carnival celebrations in July.
Brazil has more than 8.6 million coronavirus cases and 212,831 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
Brazil’s COVID-19 mortality total is second only to the United States’ 406,417 deaths as of Thursday evening.
Source: Voice of America