A flight carrying 300,000 doses of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine arrived at Ezeiza International Airport on Saturday, with officials saying the shots will now be distributed to the first group of vaccine recipients to complete their immunisation programme.
An Airbus A330-200, provided by state airline Aerolíneas Argentinas, transported the doses of the vaccine back to Argentina from Moscow. It departed for the Russian capital for a special round-trip last Thursday.
“We began 2020 with repatriation flights and the transportation of medical supplies from China, and we begin 2021 by going to collect vaccinations. We would never have hoped to carry out these tasks, but we hope they will be the last in the context of this pandemic,” the flagship carrier in a statement.
Refrigerated trucks waited on the tarmac ahead of the flight's arrival. They will now be used to transport the vaccines to regions across the country.
Argentina began its mass vaccination programme in December, after arrival of the first 300,000 shots in the country. This new delivery, which included the second of the two required doses, will be used to complete treatment for the first group of recipients.
On Friday, the government confirmed that more than 200,000 individuals had received their first dose of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccines, with 100,000 more jabs of the first batch still to be deployed.
"We have exceeded 200,000 doses applied: 200,759," announced Health Access Secretary Carla Vizzotti at a press conference.
"We are going to continue working so that our country continues to have doses and we continue to vaccinate those who are most at risk," said Vizzotti.
For now, vaccines have been given to frontline healthcare workers, including nurses and doctors, as well as at-risk groups.
A further shipment from Russia is expected in February, which will allow the immunisation programme to reach greater numbers.