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Weekly Report - 21 January 2021 (WR-21-03)

BRAZIL: Stark warning from Manaus as vaccination gives hope

After a five-hour meeting broadcast live and followed as eagerly as a football match, on 17 January Brazil’s federal heath regulator (Anvisa) gave the go-ahead for the emergency use of two vaccines against the coronavirus (Covid-19), Sinovac’s CoronaVac and the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. Vaccination began immediately in the state of São Paulo and started to be rolled out in the other 26 states from the following day. This important step in the fight against Covid-19 unleashed a justifiable wave of optimism, but uncertain times still lie ahead. Beyond the logistical challenge of vaccinating a population of 212m spread across a vast territory, the collapse last week of the local healthcare system in Manaus, the capital of Amazonas state, provides a stark warning for the rest of Brazil of the risks posed by both administrative incompetence and a potentially more transmissible new Covid-19 variant.

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