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Brazil to buy 20 million COVID-19 vaccines from India's Bharat Biotech

FILE PHOTO: Indian Health Minister Harsh Vardhan holds a dose of Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine called COVAXIN, during a vaccination campaign at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) hospital in New Delhi, India, January 16, 2021. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/File Photo

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil’s Health Ministry on Thursday signed a contract to purchase 20 million doses of Covaxin, the COVID-19 vaccine made by India’s Bharat Biotech, for delivery between March and May.

The ministry said in a statement that the deal is worth 1.6 billion reais ($290,000), with the first 8 million doses expected to arrive in March.

To speed up the buying of vaccines in Brazil and deal with the second-deadliest coronavirus outbreak in the world, the ministry said it published new rules last week dispensing with the bidding process.

Brazil reported 1,541 new COVID-19 deaths on Thursday, the second highest daily death toll since the pandemic began, taking total fatalities to 251,498.

With 65,998 new cases, the South American country has now registered 10,390,461 cases, the world’s third worst outbreak behind the United States and India.

Reporting by Anthony Boadle; editing by Jane Wardell

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