Peru inks deals with Sinopharm, AstraZeneca for coronavirus vaccines -president – Metro US

Peru inks deals with Sinopharm, AstraZeneca for coronavirus vaccines -president

Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Peru
Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Peru

LIMA (Reuters) -Peruvian president Francisco Sagasti said on Wednesday his interim administration had negotiated vaccine supply deals with Sinopharm Group and AstraZeneca Plc, boosting prospects for a vaccination program that has been slow to take root in the hard-hit Andean nation.

Sagasti said in a televised speech that his government had secured one million vaccine doses from Sinopharm for delivery in January. He said the deal was part of a larger agreement to purchase 38 million doses from the Chinese company.

Sagasti said he had also closed a deal on Wednesday for 14 million doses of the CVOID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca with Oxford University. But that supply is not due to begin arriving in the South American nation until September.

Peru has lagged behind some of its wealthier neighbors in efforts to ensure vaccines for its citizens amid a political crisis in 2020 that saw the ouster of one president and the resignation of another.

Peru had previously announced a preliminary agreement with Pfizer Inc to buy 9.9 million doses of its vaccine, but the country’s health minister on Tuesday raised doubts about that deal.

The country has also inked a deal to acquire an additional 13.2 million vaccine doses through the COVAX Facility, an alliance led by the World Health Organization to ensure equitable distribution among less wealthy nations.

COVID-19 cases have crept up following the end-of-year holidays, prompting a shortage of beds in critical care wards in Lima and across the country.

The daily caseload in Peru remains at around 20% of its August peak, but authorities said more people have been hospitalized because many are waiting until symptoms are severe before getting tested.

(Reporting by Maria Cervantes; Writing by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Bill Berkrot)