Bolivian President Luis Arce announced on Wednesday the purchase of 6 million Chinese Sinopharm vaccines after the country only received a quarter of the contracts it had made with other companies.

Arce in a presidential message also announced that from Thursday the age range will be extended and will be inoculated to those over 18 years of age.

“As of July 10, a million vaccines (Sinopharm) will arrive in our country every ten days (…) until the 6 million are completed,” he mentioned.

Furthermore, “we have managed to prioritize Bolivia through the COVAX mechanism with a donation of one million Johnson and Johnson vaccines, all this means that during the month of July and August we will already have more than 8 millions of vaccines to immunize the Bolivian people”, he added.

Bolivia, which is going through the third wave of the pandemic, began its vaccination campaign slowly in February due to a shortage of vaccines and disinformation campaigns. So far, 25.1% of Bolivians over 18 have received a first dose and 5.7% have received the second, according to data from the Ministry of Health.

The Andean nation has been replacing the lack of vaccines in its main contracts with Chinese batches and to date the country has received 2.7 million doses of Sinopharm.

“We are managing to replace the shortcomings (in vaccination) thanks to Sinopharm,” the Vice Minister of Foreign Trade, Benjamin Blanco, recently explained to the press.

At the end of last year the government announced the purchase of 5.2 million of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V and another five million of AstraZeneca from the Serum Institute of India, which have not been fulfilled with the delivery.

The rest of the vaccines had to be supplied through the COVAX multilateral initiative, which was also unable to comply with the committed shipments, according to health authorities.

So far Bolivia has registered 439,624 infections and 16,767 deaths since the pandemic began in the country in March last year.

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