Sept 29 (Reuters) - Brazil's Butantan biomedical institute
is in talks to sell a locally manufactured COVID-19 vaccine
developed by China's Sinovac to other countries in South America
and Africa, as the federal government has not ordered more of
Butantan Director Dimas Covas said on Wednesday that the
institute also has contracts to supply the vaccine directly to
Butantan is currently producing the shot developed by
Sinovac Biotech Ltd in the Sao Paulo state using inputs
imported from China, but it aims to complete a factory for 100%
local production by early next year.
Earlier this month, Butantan completed its contract to
deliver 100 million doses the vaccine, known as CoronaVac, to
Brazil's Health Ministry, without another deal in place.
President Jair Bolsonaro has expressed skepticism at what he
calls the "Chinese vaccine," taunting Sao Paulo Governor Joao
Doria, a political rival, for data showing the shot is less
effective than others at preventing COVID-19 symptoms.
CoronaVac was the first vaccine available in Brazil in
January, when Butantan and the Sao Paulo state government
offered to supply the vaccines to Bolsonaro's administration.
The federal government took longer to secure alternative
vaccines in substantial volumes, facing criticisms for a slow
and patchy immunization rollout as the death toll soared.
Brazil has recorded nearly 600,000 deaths from COVID-19 in
the world's deadliest outbreak outside the United States.
The Health Ministry is now also receiving large shipments of
vaccines from Pfizer Inc and Johnson & Johnson,
with the government saying it will prioritize using Pfizer
(Reporting by Eduardo Simoes
Writing by Jake Spring
Editing by Brad Haynes and Aurora Ellis)