The vaccine against the coronavirus CoronaVac, developed by the Chinese laboratory Sinovac, has “reached the threshold of effectiveness” required by the WHO, revealed the Butantan Institute, responsible for its production and distribution in Brazil, this Wednesday, without however make the official results public.
“We have reached the threshold of effectiveness which makes it possible to request emergency use” to the Brazilian regulatory agency Anvisa to authorize the launch of the vaccination campaign, said Dimas Covas, director of the institute, at a conference Press.
The vaccination campaign planned for the end of January in Brazil
The Butantan Institute, a public body under the supervision of the government of the State of Sao Paulo, had planned to announce on Wednesday the results of phase 3 of clinical tests – the last before approval – carried out in Brazil. But Dimas Covas explained that a clause in the contract with Sinovac required that these results be made public in a unified way globally, with the elements of all the countries where the clinical trials took place. In Brazil, 13,000 volunteers took part in these tests, in eight states of the country. They also took place in Turkey, Indonesia and China.
“Our entire calendar remains relevant. The production of doses is continuing in our factory and the vaccination campaign will begin as planned on January 25, ”said the Secretary of Health of the State of Sao Paulo, Jean Gorinchteyn. The threshold of effectiveness recommended by the WHO is 50%, but some laboratories such as Pfizer and BioNtech, whose vaccine has already been administered to several hundred thousand people in the United Kingdom and the United States, have reported more than 90% efficient.
The devastating epidemic in Brazil
Dimas Covas also announced that the federal government would order 100 million doses of CoronaVac from the Butantan Institute, more than double the 46 million initially planned. The national vaccination program, announced late and without specific dates, has been the subject of numerous criticisms from specialists. Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro sparked an uproar on Saturday by saying that the “haste” to vaccinate populations against the coronavirus was not justified, after assuring that he would not be vaccinated.
He has continued to discredit the CoronaVac, ardently promoted by the governor of the State of Sao Paulo, Joao Doria, expected to be one of his main opponents for the 2022 presidential election. The town hall of Sao Paulo, the country’s economic capital, announced Tuesday the closure of all non-essential businesses during the holiday season, from December 25 to 27 and from January 1 to 3. Brazil is the second country most bereaved by the virus after the United States, with more than 188,000 dead.