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ARGENTINA | 06-03-2021 09:34

Vaccination effort picks up; Covax confirms 1.9 million jabs on way

Argentina to receive more than 1.9 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine by the end of May, thanks to the World Health Organisation and United Nations’ Covax mechanism. 

Officials began delivering more than 400,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine against Covid-19 to regions across the country on Friday, with Health Minister Carla Vizzotti hopeful that more doses of the same jab may arrive soon.

The shots – which will be used to inoculate teachers, healthcare professionals and individuals aged between 18 and 59 with high-risk conditions – will begin being used in the coming days, said Vizzotti, who said talks with the Chinese laboratory that produces it over the acquisition of more supplies “are very advanced.”

In the wake of the recent ‘VIP vaccine’ scandal, the minister said that the number of jabs for each province and jurisdiction was public information, listed on the portfolio’s website. The largest amount will go to Buenos Aires Province, which will take delivery of 158,000 Sinopharm doses, she confirmed.

As of Friday 6pm, a total of 1,430,873 doses had been given, of the more than 2,237,310 distributed to regional authorities to date. A total of 1,094,293 individuals have received a first shot, with 336,580 having received their second dose. The data was provided by the government’s real-time vaccination monitor, which it launched in the wake of the VIP vaccine scandal.

Covax boost

The government received a boost this week, when it learned that it was likely to receive more than 1.9 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine by the end of May, thanks to the World Health Organisation and United Nations’ Covax mechanism. 

Preliminary forecasts issued earlier this week said that a total of 1,944,000 doses in total had been designated to Argentina, though authorities were less specific over the timeframe. 

Government sources say they expect to hear this week when the shots will be available, with a two-stage delivery likely, with some arriving later this month and the rest following in April or May. Some nations, including Colombia, have already begun receiving deliveries under the Covax scheme.

The government also welcomed a new batch of more than 700,000 doses of Sputnik V, produced by the Russian laboratory Gamaleya, this week, lifting Argentina's total number of vaccines to more than four million.

Last Saturday, the government celebrated the vaccination of the one millionth person in Argentina, 90-year-old Elsa Nélida Alonso, from Cañuelas.

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