Brazil gives Russian COVID-19 vaccine a chance, approving the import of limited doses
Soruce: Science Magazine
Despite safety concerns, the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (Anvisa) reversed itself last week and voted to allow a trickle of Sputnik V, the Russian-made COVID-19 vaccine, into the country. Only 928,000 doses will be imported—just a fraction of the total requested by a group of state governors—and the agency imposed stringent measures to reduce supposed health risks and monitor the vaccine’s safety and efficacy.
In April, with Brazil facing a massive COVID-19 surge and a scarcity of vaccine, Anvisa vetoed a previous import request, citing concerns that the vaccine contains adenoviruses that could replicate and harm vaccinated people. The decision sparked a lawsuit threat by Sputnik V’s manufacturer, the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, and drew criticism from some scientists. But on 4 June, four of Anvisa’s five directors decided to allow the importation of Sputnik V, swayed by a new law and Brazil’s continuing, worsening crisis. “The health context that our country is going through makes us face the need to make the greatest number of vaccines and medicines available,” said Alex Machado, one of the four directors. Brazil has one of the world’s highest burdens of COVID-19 but has only vaccinated about 15% of its people with a first dose.