A shipment of 580,000 vaccine doses against Covid-19 from India's Serum Institute arrived in Argentina on Wednesday to boost the government's immunisation campaign.
The news is a boon to the government, which last week confirmed that the country had surpassed more than two million infections and 50,000 fatalities since the start of the global pandemic.
The Covishield shot, produced thanks to a technology transfer from pharma giant AstraZenaca and Oxford University, landed at Ezeiza International Airport via a Qatar Airlines flight, where Health Minister Ginés González García and India's Ambassador to Argentina Dinesh Bhatia were on hand to welcome the consignment.
The shot is essentially the same as the British-developed AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine that previously received approval by Argentina's ANMAT drug authority on December 30.
"These vaccines are part of a total of 1,160,000 doses that the Argentine State will acquire through the Serum Institute," the Health Ministry said in a statement.
At the moment, Argentina has only received 1.22 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine, produced by the Russian laboratory Gamaleya. Officials hope to start vaccinating those aged over 70 this week, following on from healthcare workers,
González García, speaking last week, said that the national government has contracts in place to allow for the vaccination of the country’s entire adult population. In total, provisions were in place for some 62 million vaccine doses from different laboratories, said the minister.
Argentina has agreements for 30 million doses of Sputnik V, 23.6 million of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University jab and nine million shots secured via the World Health Organisation’s Covax mechanism.
The Alberto Fernández administration is also in talks with China to secure at least one million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine, while officials have said local laboratories are keen to advance in the transfer of necessary technology to manufacture Sputnik V in Argentina.
Speaking to the press after the arrival of the Covishield delivery, González García said that he was hopeful Argentina could have most of its population vaccinated by August or September.