The governor of São Paulo João Doria (PSDB) today announced the signing of the state government contract with the Chinese laboratory Sinovac to supply the first batch of CoronaVac, a vaccine against covid-19 developed by the Butantan Institute in partnership with the Chinese. According to the agreement signed, São Paulo will receive 46 million doses by December.
The contract was signed during a press conference at Palácio dos Bandeirantes, in São Paulo. In addition to Doria, Butantan director Dimas Covas and Weining Meng, Sinovac’s world vice president, also signed the document. The moment was considered “historic” by the São Paulo governor.
According to Doria, the intention is to start the vaccination campaign for health professionals in the state on December 15 if CoronaVac gets approval from Anvisa (National Health Surveillance Agency) in time.
“We are going to sign here the contract for the supply of these 46 million doses of the vaccine and also the transfer of this technology from Sinovac to the Butantan Institute, which very soon will be producing the vaccine here at the new Butantan vaccine factory,” said Doria shortly before signature. Of the 46 million doses, six million will come from China ready and the other 40 million will be produced in São Paulo by Butantan.
“The contract guarantees the supply of 46 million doses now for December and another 14 million doses until February 2021, thus totaling 60 million doses against covid-19”, added the governor on the signed contract, in the amount of US $ 90 million (R $ 507 million).
The representative of Sinovac stated that the intention of the Chinese laboratory is that the vaccine produced in partnership with Butantan will bring normality back not only to the population of São Paulo, which has been quarantined because of the pandemic of the new coronavirus since March, but also for other Brazilian states.
“Working with Butantan, our target is simple: to bring enough vaccines to Brazil. An affordable vaccine to benefit everyone in the country. We hope in the future, along with our vaccine, there are other contributions, allowing people to return to normal life, take masks and have a happier life, “said Meng.
CoronaVac does not yet have a closed agreement for the supply of the immunizer by SUS (Unified Health System), but the São Paulo government believes in the conclusion of negotiations with the Ministry of Health.
“I see no reason why the Minister of Health should not act in this direction,” said Doria, who is counting on the financial help of the federal government to bring the 14 million additional doses by February. However, the governor anticipated that, if the Ministry of Health denies it, the state itself will bear the costs of all 60 million doses.
Although it has not yet completed the phase 3 tests in Brazil, which ensure the effectiveness of the vaccine, CoronaVac has proven to be safe in previous phase tests. In China, more than 50,000 volunteers were tested and only 5.36% had adverse effects.
In Brazil, phase 3 studies are intended to include 13,000 volunteers. According to Dimas Covas, so far there are already 7 thousand people vaccinated with CoronaVac in the country.
The Butantan director works with the forecast that the tests will be concluded by November. Thus, the São Paulo government will enter the approval process by Anvisa.
“We hope that by the end of November this data will be available to allow registration of the vaccine,” said Dimas Covas.
CoronaVac can be cheaper
The Sinovac representative recalled that the production in the country, made by Butantan, can help to make the immunizing agent cheaper.
“Brazil is a large country, has a population of 200 million inhabitants, needs a lot of vaccine and with local production it is able to do this, making the price more accessible”, said Meng.