It seems a long time has passed since President Alberto Fernández announced last August in a broadcast shown across all TV channels that Argentina would play a fundamental role in the production of a Latin American version of AstraZeneca’s COVID vaccine. Although the initiative was intended to be Argentina’s first option, it’s taken almost 10 months for the first batch to arrive, with just 3.83% of the promised doses landing at the start of this week.

On Monday, a public holiday in Argentina, the government reported it had received the first batch of AstraZeneca’s vaccine produced with Mexico as part of Carlos Slim’s project. What’s striking is that this time, the government issued a single statement announcing the arrival of three quite different shipments. See official release in Spanish.

Up to now, the government had issued a separate statement for each flight that brought COVID-19 vaccines to the country, not only to make information more transparent but also to give the impression that new batches were constantly arriving.

But the bad news is that the Latin version of AZ’s vaccine is coming in drips. Yesterday (Monday May 24), a batch of 843.600 vaccines arrived. It’s a long way from the 22 million units that were announced in November when AZ’s local directors signed the relevant supply contract. For now, Argentina has received only 3.83% of that figure. See article on Sigman’s manufacturing of the vaccine. // See article on the agreement with AZ.

Of the three lots of vaccines that arrived at the weekend, one of the others, which indicated no origin, also brought AZ vaccines, but this time through the COVAX programme. The government has indicated that there are 204.000 doses, although curiously the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which updates its data online only reports that El Salvador received a shipment today (May 25) and that there are three flights in transit to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Granada and Bolivia. Nothing was listed as given heading to Argentina on Sunday May 23.

Finally, the third shipment was reported to have arrived at the weekend with another delivery of Sputnik V. That batch, consisting of 609.965 doses of component 1, landed at Ezeiza International Airport on Monday afternoon.

English version

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