Brazil approves Pfizer's COVID-19 shot, but has none to use

FILE PHOTO: Vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are pictured in a vaccination centre in Geneva, Switzerland, February 3, 2021. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazil has fully approved a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE, health regulator Anvisa said on Tuesday, although it remains to be seen if Brasilia and Pfizer can end a dispute and agree a supply deal.

The Pfizer/BioNTech shot is the first vaccine against the novel coronavirus to receive full approval in Brazil, Anvisa said. Other vaccines developed by AstraZeneca and China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd, have only been approved for emergency use so far.

The approval is good news for a country whose immunization campaign has been plagued by delays and political squabbling. However, it is unclear whether the definitive approval of the vaccine will pave the way for a supply deal of a highly effective shot that is already being applied globally.

President Jair Bolsonaro has criticized the terms of a deal proposed by Pfizer, saying it is overly onerous on Brazil as it exempts the U.S. firm from potential liability for unforeseen problems. Pfizer has said other countries, including neighbors in Latin America, have agreed to the terms.

Pfizer and Brazil’s Health Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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