Brazil’s Bolsonaro says he was right to question Chinese COVID-19 vaccine By Reuters

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Wednesday he was right to criticize the credibility of a Chinese COVID-19 vaccine developed by Sinovac Biotech that yielded disappointing efficacy results in local trials. On Tuesday, researchers from the state of Sao Paulo announced that the Chinese vaccine was 50.4% effective in preventing symptomatic infections in a local trial, barely enough for regulatory approval and well below the rate announced last week. Bolsonaro, a former far-right army captain, is a longtime hawk of China. He has repeatedly criticized the Sinovac injection, which was being tested at a late stage by the Butantan Institute in Sao Paulo, for being unreliable. He previously said his government would not buy the Chinese vaccine, but then relented as criticism of the vaccine launch in Brazil mounted. Speaking to supporters outside his residence, Bolsonaro made light of the results of Sinovac’s trial thus far, saying he had been unfairly defamed for questioning the shooting. “This 50% is good, right? All the (criticism) that I received for my comments, and now they are seeing the truth. Four months of being criticized for the vaccine,” he said. However, Bolsonaro said he had no role in giving the green light to the Sinovac vaccine, as it was up to federal health regulator Anvisa to decide whether to approve its use. Last week, the Brazilian government closed a deal with the Butantan Institute to buy up to 100 million doses of the Chinese vaccine. The government will receive 46 million initial doses with another option of 54 million doses later.

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