Brazil in talks for 63 million Moderna COVID-19 shots by Jan 2022: document

Ricardo Brito
·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: People are inoculated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Arlington

By Ricardo Brito

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil's Health Ministry is in talks to receive 13 million doses of Moderna Inc's COVID-19 vaccine in 2021, plus an additional 50 million for delivery by the end of January 2022, according to a ministry document seen by Reuters.

An initial 1 million Moderna shots would arrive by the end of July, according to the document, which was delivered to senators by a ministry official discussing immunization plans with lawmakers.

The ministry's tentative vaccine schedule reflects growing concern in Brasilia about the scale of the pandemic in Brazil.

President Jair Bolsonaro's government has come under fire for a slow and patchy vaccine rollout, while the right-wing populist has refused to take a vaccine himself. Brazil is setting daily records for COVID-19 deaths as other countries in North America and Western Europe are seeing outbreaks ebb.

That has spurred the ministry into putting aside its qualms over some of the contractual terms of companies such as Pfizer and moving ahead with purchases to slow an outbreak stoked by an infectious new homegrown variant.

The ministry document shows that officials are also in talks to receive an initial 2 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine by the end of May, with a first tranche of 16.9 million doses of Janssen's shot by the end of September.

On Thursday, the government said it intended to buy 100 million doses from Pfizer Inc and 38 million from Janssen, the pharmaceutical subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

(Reporting by Ricardo Brito; Writing by Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Brad Haynes and David Gregorio)