Russia confirmed the delay in delivery of Sputnik V to Argentina

Russia confirmed the delay in delivery of Sputnik V to Argentina

The Russian Investment Fund confirmed today through a statement the delays in the delivery of Sputnik V, which will delay the start of the massive vaccination stage in Argentina. The Fund had promised a total of 5 million doses by January, but will only deliver 520 thousand, almost 10 percent.. To the 600 thousand doses that have arrived so far (300 in December and another 300 thousand in mid-January) are added the 220 thousand that will be brought by the plane that left last night for Moscow. So far, there is no scheduled date for the next flight.

“We are improving the facilities located outside of Russia to guarantee supply to Argentina and the rest of the region. As a result, we will see a significant increase in production in the second quarter. Until then, some batches may be delayed for up to 2-3 weeks. However, Argentina, which was one of the first countries to approve Sputnik V and with whom we have established a strong alliance, will continue to receive the vaccine. We will revert to the original delivery schedule once the update is complete. The Argentine health authorities will be duly informed with an adjusted schedule.”

The Fund argued that the delays are related to “the high demand for the Russian vaccine in Latin America” ​​but he ratified the will to comply with Argentina.” ANMAT will proceed, as planned, with the technical verification of Sputnik V production sites outside Russia in the coming weeks,” the statement added.

The truth is that so far there are no dates for the next flights and the destination is not known. South Korea and India remain the options for the Argentine market.

The contract signed between the Government and the Russian Fund (RDIF is its acronym in English) It stipulated a total of 4 million for the first dose and 1 million for the second during the course of this month. In addition, another 15 million doses should arrive during February (6 million from the first dose and 4 from the second).

In the Government they argue that the delays are repeated in other countries of the world with other vaccines. The truth is that the health authorities expected to transit the first quarter only with the Russian vaccine, which has a significant delay in production, as the Fund’s CEO, Kirill Dmitriev, admitted in an interview. “The delays are understandable; the whole production chain has many components, and if you have a problem with one of them that delays things,” said Dmitriev. And I add: “We saw it with Pfizer, we see it with AstraZeneca. And I think there could be some delays with our production as well, as we are increasing capacity, although we hope not. “

There are only four days left until the end of the month and each trip takes about 40 hours between roundtrip, so there is no technical possibility of reaching the promised 5 million doses.

The first shipment of Sputnik V landed in Buenos Aires on December 24
The first shipment of Sputnik V landed in Buenos Aires on December 24, allowing the government to close the year with good news. Those 300 thousand doses just began to be applied on Tuesday 29. The second plane arrived on Saturday January 18 with another 300 thousand doses. Since then, the government had to run behind the promises of the Russians.

The third Aerolineas Argentinas plane left Ezeiza last night and plans to return tomorrow night with just 220,000 doses.

As anticipated Infobae, for the moment the aircraft of the flag carrier can transport a maximum of 600 thousand doses. The capacity could reach 1 million doses, using part of the cabin, but for that there are still some bureaucratic procedures. “It has to be approved by the manufacturer (of the plane),” said an official source.

The third flight had been announced since the beginning of last week. First, the Government had slipped that three planes were going to travel between January 21 and 24. On Friday, as posted Infobae, at the Casa Rosada they began to report that the flight was planned for Sunday, with a possible return for Tuesday. But there was no flight on Sunday or Monday and it was only yesterday afternoon that the president of Airlines, Pablo Ceriani, was again in charge of confirming takeoff for 9:00 p.m.

“The AR1062 will depart from the Ezeiza Airport and there will be a total of 40 hours of operation”, he said in a series of tweets, in which he also highlighted “an important logistical work that involves coordination between different actors from both countries.”

Minutes earlier, Ceriani had received a precise instruction from Casa Rosada to communicate the trip.

Shipment of Sputnik-V vaccines, Argentina
Photograph provided by the Presidency of Argentina that shows the shipment of Sputnik-V vaccines that the plane of the state-owned Aerolineas Argentinas transported on January 16, 2021.

After so many back and forth, last night no one dared to confirm the number of doses of the third shipment. Just this noon it was known that they will be 220 thousand doses, far from what was promised. “It is better than nothing in these conditions,” an official source was honest.

The delay of the Russians to send the vaccines will have consequences on the vaccination plan. The Government expected to vaccinate in the next four months the 14.5 million people who are within risk groups: health and security forces personnel, teachers, those over 60 years of age and people who are between 18 and 59 years old and have a pre-existing illness.

But the government’s plans are accommodated day by day to the calls that arrive from Moscow.

Ben Oakley
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