By Samantha Pearson and Luciana Magalhaes 

Brazilian health regulator Anvisa voted Sunday to approve the use of the country's first Covid-19 vaccines, China's CoronaVac and the shot developed by AstraZeneca PLC and Oxford University, raising spirits in a nation that is struggling to cope with a surge in infections.

The ruling follows a tug of war between President Jair Bolsonaro and São Paulo's powerful state governor, João Doria, to secure the first vaccines for the country of more than 210 million people.

Gov. Doria, who is expected to run for president next year, has led a partnership with Chinese company Sinovac Biotech Ltd. to test and produce CoronaVac in São Paulo, criticizing what he has called a "genocidal" lack of action by Mr. Bolsonaro.

The dispute comes as the country's average daily death toll approaches 1,000 people, with scientists warning that a new variant that likely emerged in the Amazon could be partly responsible for a recent surge in infections. For the past week, Brazil has registered an average of more than 50,000 new cases of the disease each day -- the highest since the pandemic began.

Write to Samantha Pearson at and Luciana Magalhaes at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 17, 2021 13:51 ET (18:51 GMT)

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