Argentine president says he’ll get Russia vaccine to dispel fears


President Alberto Fernandez said Thursday he would be the first person in Argentina to be injected with Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in order to dispel public fears.

“I will be the first to be vaccinated so that no one need be afraid,” Fernandez told a press conference in Buenos Aires, where he announced the purchase from Russia of enough vaccines for 10 million people.

The president sought to calm fears over mass coronavirus vaccinations and the Russian vaccine in particular.

Fernandez said he would receive his dose once the vaccine is approved by Argentina’s National Administration of Drugs, Food and Medical Technology.

“We will have enough doses to vaccinate 10 million Argentines,” Fernandez said.

A first shipment of 600,000 doses will be used to inoculate 300,000 people — two doses per person — before the end of the year, he said.

In January, doses for a further 5 million people are expected, with the remainder of the inoculations needed for a total of 10 million arriving in February, the president said.

The Sputnik vaccine’s developers say it is 95 percent effective based on interim trial results. However, it’s yet to complete its third and final phase of trials involving some 40,000 volunteers.

Argentina has been hit particularly badly by the coronavirus pandemic, surpassing 40,000 deaths from the disease this week, and accumulating more than 1.5 million cases.

The agreement with Russia is the third signed by the Argentine government to acquire Covid-19 vaccines.

The other two are joint efforts with Mexico for the British AstraZeneca vaccine with Covax, a mechanism set in motion by the World Health Organization to guarantee equitable global access to vaccines.

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