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Russia’s Sputnik V expands reach in Latin America


So far, nine Latin American countries have approved the use of the Sputnik V vaccine: Argentina, Bolivia, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Venezuela. Distribution of the vaccine has also started in Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Venezuela.

The vaccine has been approved in 39 countries around the world, according to the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which manages the marketing of the vaccine.

The Sputnik V vaccine has a cheaper list price and can be stored at higher temperatures than the Pfizer vaccine, making it attractive to countries in Latin America with less developed economies and infrastructure. It requires two doses 21 days apart to be effective.

Argentina became the first Latin American country to distribute the Sputnik V vaccine in late December, purchasing up to 25 million doses. The country has already distributed more than 600,000 doses.

Since then, Venezuela and Mexico have both received shipments of 100,000 and 200,000, respectively, in early February. Nicaragua began distributing the vaccine on March 2 after receiving a donation of an undisclosed amount of doses.

While Russia struggles to keep up with demand, some countries have only received very small shipments. Bolivia received 20,000 doses of Sputnik V in January, although it expects it to end up vaccinating 2.6 million people. Paraguay has announced the purchase of one million doses, but has so far received only 4,000.

Russia has acknowledged the cut in production and has considered launching regional production centers in several countries, including Brazil, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Some interest has been expressed in the local production of the Sputnik V vaccine in Latin America. RDIF recently announced an agreement with Argentine laboratories in Richmond to start producing the vaccine in the country, although it has not yet provided a delivery time.

Experts have repeatedly expressed concern about the transparency of Sputnik’s tests and its expedited authorization in Russia. However, the vaccine was shown to be 91.6% effective against symptomatic Covid-19 and 100% effective against severe and moderate disease, in an interim analysis of the results of the phase 3 trial of the vaccine published in The Lancet.

Reporting provided by Mitchell McCluskey in Atlanta, Stefano Pozzebon in Bogota, Tatiana Arias in Atlanta and Tim Lister in Spain.

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