QUITO (Reuters) – Ecuador said on Tuesday it has approved the use of the COVID-19 vaccine made by China’s CanSino Biologics Inc, part of President Guillermo Lasso’s effort to accelerate the Andean nation’s vaccination plan.
Lasso, a former banker who took office on May 24, last week announced the purchase of six million doses of the CanSino shot. He hopes to vaccinate nine million people in the first 100 days of his government.
“(CanSino) has been qualified as eligible for the immunization of the population,” wrote health regulatory agency Arcsa in a statement.
The government is also negotiating the purchase of 18 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, and is asking pharmaceutical companies to speed up the delivery of doses they had previously agreed to provide.
Ecuador, which has a population of 17.5 million, has registered some 21,000 confirmed and probable deaths from the disease and almost 440,000 infections. Since Lasso took office, Ecuador has vaccinated more than a million people, according to the health ministry.
Ecuador expects to receive another 814,000 vaccines this week as part of deals already negotiated with laboratories.
(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Lincoln Feast)