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October 7, 2021 9:05 PM EDT

FILE PHOTO: A woman holds a small bottle marked with a “Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine” sticker and a medical syringe in front of the Pfizer logo shown in this illustration taken, October 30, 2020. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic // File photo

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BRAZIL (Reuters) – Brazil is in talks to buy up to 150 million doses of the Pfizer COVID -19 vaccine next year, according to a document sent by the Ministry of Health to a Senate inquiry on Thursday.

The document was shared with the study examining Brazil’s handling of the pandemic after senators requested information on plans for the country’s vaccination campaign next year.

The Ministry of Health said it was negotiating the purchase of 100 million doses with Pfizer with the option to acquire an additional 50 million doses.

On top of the Pfizer vaccine, Brazil will rely on the Astrazeneca shot it produces in the country – currently with imported active ingredients.

Brazil has the world’s second highest mortality rate after COVID-19, behind only the United States. President Jair Bolsonaro has been criticized by health experts for his mismanagement of the outbreak, railing against lockdowns and regularly refusing to wear a mask in public.

Despite a slow start, Brazil has created a successful vaccination campaign. Over 70% of Brazilians have now received a first dose, compared to 65% in the United States.

(Report by Ricardo Brito; written by Stephen Eisenhammer; edited by Sandra Maler)

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