Brazil to join COVAX vaccine facility, earmarks $454 million

FILE PHOTO: Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro speaks during an inauguration ceremony of the new Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello (not pictured) at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, September 16, 2020. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro will issue decrees laying the legal groundwork for Brazil to join the global COVID-19 vaccine partnership known as COVAX and earmarking 2.5 billion reais ($453.8 million) for securing vaccines through the facility, his office said on Thursday.

It said the decrees would be issued in an extra edition of the official gazette, without specifying when it would be published.

Brazil plans to use the COVAX facility, which gives access to several vaccine candidates in development globally, to buy enough supplies to immunize 10% of its population by the end of 2021, the press office said in a statement. That should cover Brazil’s “priority populations,” it said.

Brazil and Argentina requested more time to commit to COVAX, which is led by the World Health Organization, after the deadline to join passed last Friday, saying they intended to join as soon as possible.

Brazil has the world’s third-worst coronavirus outbreak after the United States and India, with more than 4.6 million cases. The death toll in Latin America’s largest country is 139,808, the second highest after the United States.

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