As India gears up to vaccinate crores of people, Brazil writes to India for vaccine shipment. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to expedite the shipment of coronavirus vaccines to the country. The shipment of 2 million vaccine doses is for AstraZeneca's coronavirus candidate.
"To enable the immediate implementation of our National Immunisation Program, I would appreciate... the supply to Brazil, with the possible urgency and without jeopardising the Indian vaccination program, of 2 million doses," Bolsonaro wrote in the letter, shared by his press office.
The letter comes amid growing pressure to speed up Brazil's immunisation process and tackle the deadly outbreak in the country. Critics have said that the country's immunisation campaign is running behind its regional peers and have questioned why the government has not moved more swiftly.
His message to PM Modi comes as the federally funded Fiocruz biomedical center said on Friday that the active ingredients needed to fill and finish millions of doses of AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine in Brazil, previously slated to arrive in the country on Saturday, may not land until the end of the month.
Fiocruz, which was counting on the shipment Saturday to supply the government with doses this month, said it was in talks to import more finished doses of the vaccine, likely from India on top of the 2 million it has already ordered.
A source involved said the active ingredient is ready to be shipped to Brazil but is waiting for an export license from China, where it is produced.
Earlier, Fiocruz requested an emergency use authorisation for AstraZeneca vaccines coming from India, which are expected to arrive in Brazil in the middle of this month.