ASUNCION (Reuters) – Paraguay signed a contract with the Russian Direct Investment Fund to purchase the Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus, the South American country’s health minister said on Thursday.
It was the first announcement of a bilateral agreement under Paraguay’s coronavirus immunization plan. Neighboring Argentina is also using the Russian vaccine.
Scientists gave Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine the green light this week saying it was almost 92% effective in fighting COVID-19 based on peer-reviewed late-stage trial results published in The Lancet international medical journal.
Paraguayan Health Minister Julio Mazzoleni said the number of doses and schedule for distribution will be reported later, without giving other details about the operation.
“We are awaiting the return of the contracts that have already been signed in order to make that announcement,” he said at a press conference.
The country will also receive some 300,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the second half of February through the COVAX program promoted by the World Health Organization, as announced by President Mario Abdo over the weekend.
The health ministry has confirmed 2,765 deaths associated with COVID-19 as of Wednesday. The government said it planned to start vaccination in the second half of February, giving priority to health professionals and adults over 60 years old.
(Reporting by Daniela Desantis; writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Alistair Bell)