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23 Jul, 2021 15:24

Argentina to consider buying Covid-19 vaccines from US after Russia delays in delivering millions of doses of Sputnik V - reports

Argentina to consider buying Covid-19 vaccines from US after Russia delays in delivering millions of doses of Sputnik V - reports

Argentina has threatened Russia that it may completely terminate its contract for the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine due to serious delays in the supply of millions of doses, a newspaper based in Buenos Aires revealed on Thursday.

Cecilia Nicolini, an adviser to the Argentinian president, wrote to the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), the body responsible for exporting the vaccine worldwide, explaining that the shortage of shots is fast becoming a critical problem.

Citing the letter, La Nacion revealed that Buenos Aires was expecting deliveries of at least a million doses of the second complement of the vaccine on July 10 or 11. The shipment arrived late, on July 13, and only contained 550,00 jabs. These vaccines were meant to go to elderly Argentinians.

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According to the presidential adviser, in July alone Russia has failed to deliver 5.5 million doses of the first component and 13.1 million of the second.

In the letter, Nicolini explained that Argentina showed understanding about production difficulties seven months ago, but now it is seriously considering terminating the entire contract. Furthermore, the country’s president, Alberto Fernandez, recently signed a decree to allow the purchase of vaccines from the US.

Because of the delay in delivery of doses, the gap between the first and second shots has been increased to three months rather than three weeks.

On Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Russia would honor its commitments to supply Covid-19 vaccines abroad, noting that Moscow sees the current situation not a “failure” to deliver doses, but as simply a “delay.” RDIF is in contact with Buenos Aires to resolve the issue, he added.

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"As for the fulfillment of obligations on foreign markets, including Argentina, of course, they will be fulfilled,” Peskov said, noting however that inoculating people at home must be a priority. 

“We have always said that the main priority is to meet the needs of Russians in vaccination,” he continued. “The campaign for universal vaccination has intensified significantly [in Russia], and citizens’ understanding [about the benefit of immunization] is constantly growing. The rate of vaccination is increasing more and more. This is an absolute priority.”

Sputnik V was the first Covid-19 vaccine to be registered in the world, in August 2020. Since then, it has been approved in 69 countries. Earlier this month, British magazine Nature published an article on the shot’s usage outside of Russia, concluding that evidence shows it is safe and effective.

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