The Governors of the 26 states of Brazil, a country that has been hit very hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, are now executing an end-run around Brazil’s dysfunctional federal government in order to buy vaccine shots directly from União Quimica, the Brasilia based pharmaceutical company manufacturing to Russian vaccine, known as Sputnik V.
Brazil has thus far recorded more than 10 million cases of Covid-19 infection and it is closing in on 26 thousand deaths.
The chief executive of União Quimica, Fernando Marques, says that his company expects to make 90 million doses of Sputnik V in the course of the year.
The federal government’s medicines regulator, the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa), has not yet approved Sputnik V for emergency use. One of the reasons for Anvisa’s hesitancy is the extremely low temperature at which Sputnik has to be stored to remain effective.
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But the President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, has expressed little interest in a federally-led anti-viral campaign. Rather, he has made a point of accusing his political opponents of exaggerating the prevalence of the pandemic. It is not clear, then, whether União Quimica is going to be able to make its sales to the federal government. That is why the states have come to Marques.