Bolivia and Serum Institute sign agreement for 5 million doses of Oxford vaccine

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Bolivia signed a contract with the Serum Institute for the supply of 5 million doses of the vaccine from Oxford. (File)

La Paz:

The Bolivian government said on Wednesday it had signed a contract with the Serum Institute for the supply of 5 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine.

President Luis Arce said that combined with a recent agreement to purchase 5.2 million doses of Sputnik V vaccine from Russia, Bolivia now expected to be able to inoculate all of its vaccine population.

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Both vaccines require two doses to be administered, meaning they would be used to inoculate a total of 5.1 million people among Bolivia’s 11.51 million population.

Bolivia also signed an agreement under the global COVAX initiative, which is supported by the World Health Organization and aims to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines, to receive 3.6 million additional doses of a range of vaccines.

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Bolivia, which has experienced periods of political and social upheaval since the contested 2019 elections saw long-time President Evo Morales step down, has struggled to secure bilateral vaccine supply deals.

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Arce said the first million doses of AstraZeneca will arrive in Bolivia in April. The first 6,000 doses of Sputnik are expected to arrive at the end of January.

Bolivia also took delivery of 650,000 of a promised shipment of 1.6 million COVID-19 tests from South Korea this week. Nasal antigen testing will allow Bolivia to roll out large-scale tests for the disease for the first time since the pandemic broke, which could lead to an increase in the number of reported infections.

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On Tuesday, the health ministry reported 1,473 new cases, 176,761 total cases and 9,454 deaths.

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