Bolivia received 25,000 doses of the Russian covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V this Wednesday to continue with the government’s generalized immunization plan that began last week with difficulties due to the lack of drugs in some regions.
The vaccines arrived at night at a military airport in the city of El Alto, neighboring La Paz and were received by the Health Ministers, Jeyson Auza, and the Foreign Ministers, Rogelio Mayta, as well as some vice ministers and a Russian diplomatic representative.
The 25,000 doses will allow “us to continue our vaccination plan,” Auza told the media.
The minister said that at the moment the country has “sufficient quantity” to continue with the vaccination, although he acknowledged that it is not “the necessary quantity to immunize the entire country,” a responsibility “that cannot be attributed to the national government”.
The Government of Luis Arce has assured in recent days that the lack of vaccines that has made mass immunization difficult in the country is the fault of “capitalism” and the “rich countries” that hoarded doses.
Bolivia at the end of last January already received 20,000 doses of Sputnik V that allowed first-line health personnel to begin vaccinating.
Vaccination was expanded in February to people with kidney disease and cancer, and last week it began broadly with those over 60.
In addition to Russian vaccines, the country also obtained 700,000 doses from the Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinopharm and through the United Nations Covax mechanism it obtained another 228,000 from AstraZeneca-Oxford.
The Bolivian government has signed contracts to acquire 5.2 million doses of Sputnik V and another 5 million from AstraZeneca-Oxford through Serum.
DELAYS IN SUPPLY
Last month the arrival of a batch of 1.7 million Sputnik V vaccines was scheduled, which was not fulfilled.
Distribution delays and breaches of contracts are a “global problem” that has even been seen “with developed countries” that financed the research and production of drugs, said the Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade, Benjamin Blanco.
The authority assured that they are “in permanent contact” with the Government and the Russian Investment Fund to coordinate the shipments of contracted vaccines and that there is a commitment that to the extent that “there is availability, they will send us.”
According to Blanco, it is likely that before the end of the month another batch larger than the one that arrived on this day will be received and that from May the “initially agreed schedule” for the provision of Russian vaccines could begin to be fulfilled.
For his part, Foreign Minister Mayta said that “it is a complicated international scenario” for the purchase of vaccines, but assured that the Bolivian government is doing “all the necessary steps” to “maintain” its immunization program.
The country has a population of more than 11.5 million inhabitants, of which about 7.2 million are those who must be immunized against the disease.
So far, 465,896 vaccines have been applied, between the first and second doses of Sputnik V, Sinopharm and Oxford-AstraZeneca.
Bolivia accumulates 12,496 deaths and 284,183 infections of the covid-19 since the first cases detected in March 2020.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.