Sao Paulo starts building production plant for China's Sinovac vaccine: governor

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SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The Brazilian state of São Paulo has begun building a facility to produce 100 million doses a year of China’s Sinovac vaccine against COVID-19, which will be ready by September next year, Governor João Doria said on Monday.

Sao Paulo is also importing the vaccine before the facility is ready and Doria said the first batch of 120,000 imported Sinovac vaccines will arrive on Nov. 20 with the state’s Butantan biomedical center receiving a total of 6 million doses by year-end.

The vaccine production facility will cost 142 million reais ($26.5 million), which will be donated by private companies.

The Butantan Institute will soon publish results from clinical Phase III tests it has conducted in Brazil to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of Sinovac’s vaccine, Sao Paulo Health Secretary Jean Gorinchteyn said.

He said previous studies have established the safety of the vaccine known as CoronaVac and shown it produces antibodies in almost 98% of the volunteers that received the shots.

Doria said the vaccine will only be used once it has been approved by Brazil’s health regulator, Anvisa.

Reporting by Eduardo Simoes and Anthony Boadle in Sao Paulo; Editing by Stephen Eisenhammer and Matthew Lewis