"We unanimously decided not to import the vaccine given the lack of data on its safety, efficacy, and quality," Barra explained.
The decision was taken after a group of Brazilian state governors pushed President Jair Bolsonaro's administration to buy batches of the Russian vaccine.
The announcement occurred one month after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) acknowledged that health officials under President Donald Trump’s administration (2016-2021) worked to convince Brazil to reject the Sputnik V vaccine.
The HHS stated that countries such as Russia “are working to increase their influence in the region to the detriment of U.S. safety and security. That is why U.S. government agencies are trying to dissuade countries from purchasing the Sputnik V.”
“We believe countries should work together to save lives. Efforts to undermine the vaccines are unethical and are costing lives,” Russia’s authorities tweeted then.
Brazil, which has the second-highest COVID-19 death toll worldwide, has struggled to get vaccine supplies. In this South American country with 212 million inhabitants, only 7.8 million citizens have received the two doses of COVID-19 vaccines needed to achieve immunity.