Chinese firm Sinovac sends second COVID-19 vaccine batch to Brazil


cgtn– Nearly two million doses of COVID-19 vaccines are on their way to Brazil. The South American country is currently the third worst-hit nation in the world with nearly seven million coronavirus cases. CGTN got exclusive access to a Sinovac warehouse in Beijing to find out how the vaccines are being transported.

This is the second batch of Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccines to be delivered to Brazil. Also printed on each box is the name Butantan Institute – a research center in Sao Paulo. It’s been coordinating with Sinovac on phase-3 trials since July.

“We’ll deliver about 1.91 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Brazil. This will be the second batch if they’re approved for general use. The first batch of 600L products was packaged in Brazil. 600L corresponds to one million doses. The first 120,000 doses mentioned in the media were actually used for research purposes,” said Liu Peicheng, public relations director of Sinovac Biotech.

Each vaccine pallet will be fitted with a temperature recorder until they arrive in Sao Paulo.

The service provider said it has been working with Sinovac since 2015 in delivering other vaccine products.

“We set the incubators at five degrees Celsius, which is an ideal temperature for the vaccines. They’ll pass through a security check at the airport and be put on the plane in the shortest time before take-off. We bring the incubators here, and they’ll be sent directly to the Brazilian customer’s warehouse for unloading,” said Feng Baojun, sales manager of Weida Freight System (Beijing).

These vaccines will stay at the Beijing International Airport for at least 24 hours and are expected to be put on board a flight to Brazil on December 17.

They can be stored at two to eight degrees Celsius, similar to the rabies vaccines. It’s winter in Beijing, so the warehouse is actually warmer than outside. In terms of transportation and storage, it is hoped not to place too much burden on the distribution system in place for vaccines across the world.

Sinovac said it’s still awaiting market approval for general use in China, but it’s already prepared to roll the jabs out domestically.

“In China, the current mode of transport is by land, using refrigerated trucks. Certain areas may require air transport. We carried out a drill in August and delivered vaccines to more than 1,000 disease control centers. For Beijing, it took more than two hours to complete. For Xinjiang, it took about two days,” Liu said.

Sinovac said it is also preparing vaccines for Indonesia and Turkey, with workers operating three shifts to cover 24-hour production.

The company said it will have a second production line ready for use by the end of this year.

It said it’ll be able to produce at least 600 million doses a year, not only for China, but also for the rest of the world.