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Brazil to buy single-shot Chinese COVID-19 vaccine

BRASILIA, June 15 (Reuters) - Brazil plans to buy 60 million doses of the single-shot COVID-19 vaccine developed by China’s CanSino Biologics for delivery in the third and fourth quarters of this year, according to a negotiation document reviewed by Reuters.

A ministry official signed a letter of intent on June 4 to purchase the doses with a Brazilian pharmaceutical company that represents CanSino in Brazil, Belcher Farmaceutica do Brasil, the document said.

The vaccine, trade-named Convidecia and developed by CanSino together with a research institute linked to the Chinese military, will cost $17 per dose, it said.

Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga told a Senate commission investigating the handling of the coronavirus pandemic in Brazil last week that the government is seeking to buy new vaccines to diversify its supply. He cited possible acquisition of the CanSino shot.

Its Chinese maker is seeking emergency use authorization in Brazil, he said.

The government of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro is facing criticism for delays in securing supplies of vaccines to fight the second-deadliest COVID-19 outbreak outside of the Unites States. The death toll in Brazil is approaching half a million dead. (Reporting by Ricardo Brito; editing by Richard Pullin)

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