Medical workers treat a COVID-19 patient at the coronavirus unit in Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center, Bnei Brak, April 13, 2020. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
(Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Brazil will launch a mass vaccination drive against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in January, the government said on Tuesday.

“We are signing contracts with those who manufacture the vaccine and the expectation is that the vaccine will reach us starting in January. In January of next year we will begin to vaccinate everybody,” the acting Minister of Health Eduardo Pazuello said during a cabinet meeting.

Brazil’s government signed an agreement with the state-run Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), which is working with the University of Oxford to develop a vaccine.

The plan is to initially receive 100.4 million vaccines, which would serve to immunize half the population. A second supply of dosages is expected to be ready in the second half of next year.

Minister of Tourism Marcelo Alvaro Antonio, who also attended the meeting, said he expected the availability of a vaccine to make next summer season “the one with the highest volume of domestic tourism.”

The sector “will come back strong” from the health crisis, he predicted.

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