New Delhi: After falling behind its neighbours in the global race for immunisation against the coronavirus pandemic, Brazil has made a diplomatic push for Indian-made shipment of the British drugmaker AstraZeneca’s vaccine against coronavirus. The largest Latin American nation has also struck a preliminary deal with Bharat Biotech despite a lack of public results from late-stage trials.Also Read - India Being Used As Potential 'Back Door' Into Europe For Russian Oil, Suggests Report

Long heralded for its domestic vaccine development programs, Brazil appears to be at least three or four weeks away from launching any formal immunization campaign against COVID-19. In contrast, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Costa Rica and other countries in the region have already begun giving shots to their populations. Also Read - Germany Recognises Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin For Travel Purposes. Here’s What It Means For Indians

Meanwhile, the country’s coronavirus infections in the country reached a new high in December peaking with more than 7.7 million cases and a death toll reaching 200,000, second only to the United States. Also Read - Price of Corbevax Covid-19 Vaccine Slashed to Rs 250 Per Dose. Deets Inside

The lightning rod in Brazil’s vaccine debate is President Jair Bolsonaro, who has cast scepticism on all of the vaccines being developed even as his government negotiates to obtain them. He has said he doesn’t plan to get a shot himself and joked at one point that side effects might turn people into crocodiles or bearded ladies.

However, top officials at the Serum Institute of India, the Oxford vaccine developer in India, said that the government will restrict the export of COVID-19 vaccines.