Argentina welcomed its first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on Wednesday evening, with 100,620 shots arriving at Ezeiza International Airport.
The delivery is the first batch of an estimated 20.5 million doses expected to arrive before the end of the year, said Health Minister Carla Vizzotti, who was on hand to oversee the delivery.
The minister confirmed that some 580,000 doses would arrive this month, with the remainder due between October and December.
Vizzotti said the shots would “be used according to the national plan to initiate vaccination schedules for adolescents without risk factors universally, starting at 17 years of age," as well as to complete adult vaccination plans.
Argentina’s government and the US laboratory announced on July 27 that a deal had been agreed between the two parties for more than 20 million jabs. The accord was reached after months of negotiations and talks and required a decree from President Alberto Fernández to smooth the process, despite Argentina having participated in Phase III clinical trials of the vaccine.
"The United States and Argentina are partners and we are going to continue working together to combat this pandemic," said MaryKay Carlson, charge d'affaires at the US Embassy in Buenos Aires, who was on hand at Ezeiza to witness the delivery with Pfizer Argentina CEO Nicolás Vaquer.
Vizzotti also confirmed Wednesday that Argentina would be the welcome recipient of a donation of just under 850,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses from the Spanish government. Last month, Madrid sent 400,000 of the shots to Buenos Aires.
According to government data as of Thursday morning, a total of 28.5 million people in Argentina (around 63 percent of the population) had received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine with 17.1 million having completed the full two-shot immunisation plan (38 percent).