Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro shaking hands with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a summit on June 28, 2019. (Image Reuters)
Prosecutors from Brazil are looking for the “immediate purchase suspension” of COVAXIN, after the country’s health ministry signed a contract for 20 million doses of the India-made COVID-19 vaccine, as per a document seen on February 26, Reuters reported.
Prosecutors at the country’s Federal Audit Court aka TCU have sought an injunction on the deal, arguing that manufacturer Bharat Biotech has not yet published data for Phase III clinical trials, the report said.
Moneycontrol could not independently verify the report.
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The health ministry did not respond to queries, as per the report.
Brazil’s Health Ministry on February 25 signed a 1.6 billion reais ($286 million) deal for 20 million doses of COVAXIN – with the first batch of 8 million does expected in March. This came after the ministry scrapped its bidding process to “speed up” the purchase of vaccines.
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Brazil is the third most affected country after the United States and India.
Lack of late-stage data has led to criticism that the President Jair Bolsonaro-led government is “cutting corners” to make up for the slow COVID-19 vaccine roll-out in Brazil where 250,000 people have died from the disease.
The situation is similar in India, where some states have opposed COVAXIN due to a lack of trial results.
Chhattisgarh on February 11 asked the Centre to halt the vaccine’s roll-out till Phase III data is made available.
Meanwhile, Bharat Biotech said data for its late-stage trials, which included 26,000 volunteers, will only be out sometime in March. This led to renewed criticism from epidemiologists that its approval for emergency use came “too soon,” the report added.Follow our full COVID-19 coverage here