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Brazilian President Cancels Health Minister's Plan to Buy Chinese Vaccine Against Coronavirus

Roberta Machado arranges flowers on her 1969 VW beetle in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Oct. 21, 2020. After she saw her business of renting rooms for tourists dry up due to the pandemic, she converted her car into a mobile flower store.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said he has canceled a deal to buy a Chinese-developed vaccine against the coronavirus, a day after his health minister announced Brazil would purchase millions of doses of CoronaVac.

Bolsonaro said Wednesday that the intentions of Sao Paulo Governor Joao Doria, one of his leading opponents, were distorted, saying he already canceled the deal before Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello signed it.

Pazuello said in a statement that there was “no commitment” to buy the vaccine, only a "non-binding memorandum of understanding between the health ministry and the Butantan Institute” to test and produce the vaccine.

Bolsonaro, who said he would not let Brazilians be guinea pigs for the Sinovac drug, is promoting the purchase of another vaccine developed by Oxford University in Britain.

Brazil is helping to test both of vaccines in the final stage of clinical trials.

Meantime, The Wall Street Journal reports, a Brazilian health regulator says the clinical trials of the vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca PLC will continue although a volunteer died.

Both Oxford University and AstraZeneca reportedly found no safety issues which warranted the trial being stopped.