(BBC) – Brazil plans to use a Chinese-made coronavirus vaccine as part of a national immunisation programme, officials have announced.
São Paulo Governor João Doria said the federal government had agreed to buy 46 million doses of the vaccine CoronaVac.
He said the immunisation programme could begin as soon as January 2021, making it one of the first such efforts in the world to fight the pandemic.
Brazil has been one of the countries worst affected by coronavirus.
It has had nearly 5.3 million confirmed cases – the third highest tally in the world after the US and India – and is second only to the US in terms of deaths, with nearly 155,000 registered so far, according to data collated by Johns Hopkins University.
If approved by the country’s health regulator, CoronaVac – developed by Chinese company Sinovac Biotech – will be one of two vaccines included in Brazil’s immunisation programme.
The country also plans to administer a vaccine being created by England’s Oxford University and the drug giant AstraZeneca.
Mr Doria has previously touted Sinovac’s experimental vaccine, announcing plans to use it to inoculate residents of São Paulo.
The Chinese vaccine is being tested by São Paulo state’s research centre Butantan Institute.
The institute announced on Monday that the two-dose vaccine appeared to be safe in a late-stage clinical trial.
However, it warned the result was only preliminary, with testing ongoing. It said data on how effective the vaccine is will not be released until the trial is over.
Trials are also being conducted in Turkey and Indonesia.