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Containers carrying doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine arrive in Brazil. Photo: Maurio Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil on Saturday began distributing the 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine that arrived from India Friday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Brazil has the third highest COVID-19 case-count in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The 2 million doses "only scratch the surface of the shortfall," Brazilian public health experts told the AP.

The big picture: Brazil started its vaccination campaign Monday, per the New York Times, using China's Sinovac CoronaVac vaccine — which was found to be 78% effective in Brazil trials.

  • Brazil’s Butantan Institute, a medical research institute in São Paulo, made 6 million CoronaVac doses imported from China available, and it used materials imported from China to bottle an additional 4.8 million doses, per AP.
  • A flight from India planned for last week was delayed, derailing Brazil's plan to kick off its immunization with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
  • Brazil’s federally funded Fiocruz Institute has an agreement to produce up to 100 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Go deeper

Updated 20 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Vaccines: NYC to require vaccination or weekly testing for health workers.
  2. Health: COVID cases are up 55% across the U.S. — New Orleans issues indoor mask advisory amid surging COVID-19 cases.
  3. Politics: White House boosts funding for COVID testing in vulnerable communities — Prominent Republicans find new enthusiasm for COVID-19 vaccines.
  4. Sports: Pandemic drug-testing pause raises questions about Olympics — NFL says teams will forfeit games delayed by coronavirus outbreaks — Guinea reverses decision to withdraw from Tokyo Olympics.
  5. World: Italy to require vaccine proof, negative COVID-19 test for many social activities — Free of COVID restrictions, England now faces contact tracing "pingdemic" — China's government rejects WHO plan for COVID origins study.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

Updated 17 mins ago - Sports

Japan's Naomi Osaka lights Olympic cauldron, kicking off Tokyo Games

Naomi Osaka lights the Olympic cauldron. Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images

After a year-long delay, the Olympics finally got underway Friday as tennis star Naomi Osaka, who is competing for Japan, lit the cauldron, formally kicking off the Tokyo Games.

The big picture: Friday's opening ceremony looked, like many things over the last year, different than normal — multicolored seats replaced cheering fans, masks were a central part of the athletes' uniforms and a subdued, somber tone marked the occasion.