Brazil's COVID-hit indigenous receive vaccine

Deep inside the reaches of the Amazon rainforest, medical personnel rolled out long-awaited COVID-19 vaccinations on Tuesday for Brazil's indigenous tribes.

Villagers clapped as 68-year-old Isabel Ticuna became the first to be vaccinated in Umariaçu (ooo-ma-rya-su), a remote village of wooden houses on the banks of the Amazon River.

She was innoculated with the CoronaVac shot, developed by China's Sinovac.

Village medic Tarcis Marques Ticuna says it's a collective sigh of relief for a community where over three dozen residents have died from the disease, and some 2,000 more have been infected.

"I was waiting for this moment, this D Day and it has finally arrived after so many deaths here and in the world. This is hope for us, the indigenous people."

Brazil's more than 800,000 indigenous people have been particularly devastated by the pandemic, many of them llive in isolated villages, days away from the closest medical post by river boat.

According to Brazil's Indigenous Peoples Articulation, a tribal umbrella organization, the coronavirus has killed nearly a thousand indigenous people in Brazil, and infected over 46,000.

The country's right-wing government has faced criticism for its slow response to the disease, which has killed more than 210,000 Brazilians so far.

Following weeks of setbacks, Brazil finally began its nationwide vaccination drive Monday using China's Sinovac vaccine.

But shipments of the active ingredients needed for local manufacturers to fll the vaccine doses have still been delayed, threatening to further hamper their distribution.