Peru strikes deal to purchase 20 million doses of Sputnik V vaccine

FILE PHOTO: Vials of the Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac) vaccine are seen at the Del-Pest Central Hospital in Budapest, Hungary, February 12, 2021. Zoltan Balogh/MTI/MTVA/Pool via REUTERS

LIMA (Reuters) – Peru has signed a deal to purchase 20 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday, a move to shore up the hard-hit Andean nation’s defenses over fears of a potential third wave of coronavirus.

Officials said the agreement, signed with the Russian Fund for Direct Investment, would ensure the arrival of the vaccines within “the next few months.”

Peru is among the most battered countries in Latin America by the pandemic, a predicament that has left its hospitals near collapse and often outstripped the availability of oxygen tanks. The country in late May tripled its official death count from the virus and leads the world in deaths per 100,000 inhabitants from the disease.

The Andean nation, which has a population of 33.2 million, has thus far vaccinated 10.9 million people with at least one dose and 4.0 million with two doses of Pfizer, Sinopharm and AstraZeneca shots, according to official data.

Interim president Francisco Sagasti has said that there are agreements with different laboratories to buy 71.2 million doses this year. Sagasti has said he expects nearly 20 million of those shots to arrive in the country by the end of July, when president-elect Pedro Castillo takes office.

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