President Alberto Fernández said Monday that Argentina has accepted Russia's proposal to purchase an initial 10 million doses of its Covid-19 experimental vaccine, which is expected to be delivered before the end of the year.
In an interview with the Russian news agency, the president said the vaccine, which is given in two parts, could even arrive as early as next month if clinical trials are successful. Another 15 million doses could arrive in January if successful, he added.
The news comes just days after Perfil journalist Rosario Ayerdi revealed that on October 17, on a fact-finding mission to learn more about the Russian vaccine, known as Sputnik V., Secretary of Health Access Carla Vizzotti traveled to Russia.
Vizzotti's trip to Moscow was confirmed by Fernández, who said that presidential advisor Cecilia Nicolini had joined her to learn more about the vaccine and the results of the trials. He suggested the visit had boosted optimism that in the coming months a vaccine could be ready for Argentina.
We had a proposal from the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Russian [Direct Investment] Fund to see whether Argentina was interested in receiving vaccine doses in December, and we said, of course, 'yes,'" the Peronist leader told Sputnik news agency."
They would be in a position to give us 10 million each of the two doses required by the vaccine [and] we can have them here in December and we could have 15 million more in the first days of January, as they tell me, "he added."
He said it was "very important to get a vaccine because it would enable us to vaccinate vulnerable sectors in Argentina."
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has supported the development and global roll-out of the Sputnik V vaccine, reports said Monday. In his interview, Fernández revealed that talks had been going on "for quite some time."
The president portrayed the move as extremely positive for Argentina, saying that more than half the population could be vaccinated at 25 million doses. According to Perfil, tentative plans were set in order to identify priority groups with about six million people qualifying, such as health staff, those over 60, those with risk factors, teachers and police.