Sao Paulo to provide vaccine even without federal govt help, governor says

FILE PHOTO: Brazil's Sao Paulo state governor, Joao Doria holds a box of the China's Sinovac coronavirus potential vaccine for trials during a news conference at Hospital das Clinicas, in Sao Paulo, Brazil July 21, 2020. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The Brazilian state of Sao Paulo, which is in advanced trials of a Chinese coronavirus vaccine, will inoculate its population even if the federal government declines to help, governor Joao Doria told Reuters in an interview on Friday.

The comment comes amid the deteriorating relationship between Brazil’s wealthiest and most populous state and the capital Brasilia.

Doria said the vaccine developed by China’s SinoVac still needs to complete clinical trials and be approved by health regulator Anvisa, but that Sao Paulo is ready to begin vaccinations in December.

“We will be prepared, if there were some situation in which the federal government, for some grave circumstance of attitude, turns its back on Sao Paulo, Brazilians from Sao Paulo will have the vaccine,” Doria said in an interview.

Doria and President Jair Bolsonaro have clashed frequently in recent months over the nation’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic in Brazil, with the president blaming Doria for killing the economy and the governor accusing Bolsonaro of negligence.

Reporting by Eduardo Simoes and Stephen Eisenhammer; Editing by Sandra Maler and Alistair Bell