Brazil launches mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign

BRASILIA, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Brazil launched its mass vaccination campaign against the novel coronavirus disease simultaneously in each state starting 5:00 p.m. Monday local time, Minister of Health Eduardo Pazuello said.

The initial plan was to begin nationwide vaccination on Wednesday, but the date was moved up in response to the request of state governors, said Pazuello.

"The governors asked that as soon as (the vaccines) arrive in the states, they have the freedom to begin vaccination," Pazuello said.

As of Monday afternoon, all states were expected to have received their doses of the CoronaVac vaccine developed by Chinese laboratory Sinovac in collaboration with the Butantan Institute of Sao Paulo.

Brazil was distributing around 6 million doses, with over 4.6 million distributed by the federal government and 1.3 million by the local government of Sao Paulo.

Brazil's Health Regulatory Agency (Anvisa) on Sunday authorized the emergency use of the CoronaVac vaccine, as well as the AstraZeneca-University of Oxford vaccine against COVID-19.

Immediately following Anvisa's authorization, the government of Sao Paulo, the epicenter of Brazil's COVID-19 outbreak, applied the first CoronaVac vaccine.

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