President Alberto Fernández used a cadena nacional national broadcast on Thursday night to preach caution amid fears of a Covid-19 second wave, as he admitted to severe delays in the arrival of coronavirus vaccines.
"Regardless of political or social differences, we want collective care and vaccination. To prevent and reduce as much as possible the impact of the second wave, I ask that all of us respect the main prevention measures," Fernández said, speaking almost a year to the day since he ordered an initial strict lockdown to tackle the spread of the virus.
The Peronist leader told citizens it was "totally inadvisable" to travel overseas and warned about new strains of the virus that are circulating, especially in Latin America. He said the population must "continue taking care of ourselves and deepen prevention measures" to ensure protection against infection.
In the 12-minute speech, Fernández said Argentina had received a fraction of the vaccine doses it had ordered. Previously government officials said agreements were in place to allow for 65 million doses.
"Only 15 countries have received more than 10 percent of the vaccines they bought. We have received only six percent of the doses that we contracted," he revealed.
"Up to today four million doses have arrived in the country, six percent of the doses that we have contracted. About three million doses have been applied to Argentines and Argentines," he added.
"Is everything turning out as we expected? No. Because there is a global delay in the production of vaccines," he told the nation.
Argentina, with a population of around 45 million, has recorded more than two million confirmed cases and more than 54,000 fatalities from Covid-19. a scourge against which it contracted purchases "of 65 million vaccines," said the president.
"As is the case around the world, the vaccines that we had acquired are unfortunately taking longer to arrive. Our suppliers have had difficulty scaling up production and have not been able to deliver in the timeframe they had planned. The truth is that even the richer countries have had negotiations and tensions with suppliers," argued Fernández