Brazil’s Senate Tuesday passed a bill that allows the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines by private companies and subnational governments before the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) registers the immunizers.
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Buying drugs without Anvisa's approval will allow the country to purchase India's Covaxin vaccine and the Russian Sputnik V. The rule, however, establishes that the immunizers can be administered to the people only if the Agency allows their emergency use.
The proposal, which now requires far-right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro's approval, urges all doses acquired by private companies to be donated to the Unified Health System (SUS) for their use in the national vaccination campaign.
Once the campaign's priority groups are immunized, companies will be able to acquire, distribute, and administer the vaccines to the people as long as they donate half of the doses to the SUS.
Meanwhile, State and municipal governments will have to assume risks related to any adverse effects after vaccination for as long as the health emergency lasts.
"To immediately acquire vaccines is imperative to halt health emergency the country is facing," lawmaker Randolfe Rodrigues said and added that the vaccination campaign has advanced slowly and amid corruption scandals.
Less than 4 percent of the population has received doses of COVID-19 vaccines since the vaccination campaign started two months ago. During the process, Brazil has experienced a vaccine shortage that experts attribute to Bolsonaro’s planning errors.