Peru began distributing the Chinese vaccine against Sinopharm on Tuesday morning. In the first phase of the rollout, healthcare workers were at the forefront.
The country has been participating in the clinical trials of the Sinopharm vaccine since last year and is the first Latin American country to introduce the Chinese vaccine.
A group of doctors at the Arzobispo Loayza Hospital in Lima were the first to receive the vaccine on Tuesday morning, the state news agency Andina reported.
President Francisco Sagasti is expected to be vaccinated later Tuesday.
On Sunday Peru received his first shipment of 300,000 doses of China’s Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine and expects the remaining 700,000 doses to be received on February 14. The armed forces will be responsible for distributing the vaccine across the country.
On Monday, Secretary of State Elizabeth Astete announced that her government had reached an agreement with Pfizer to supply 20 million doses of her vaccine, Andina state news agency reported.
Astete told a congressional committee that 250,000 doses will arrive in March and at least 300,000 in April, Andina reported.
“We have been assured that Peru will have received at least 5,750,000 vaccines by July 1 and that the supply has grown significantly to 20 million since then,” said Astete.
Astete told lawmakers that her government has signed an agreement to receive 6.6 million doses from Pfizer and AstraZeneca over the Internet Covax Program to vaccinate 20% of the population.
President Sagasti, who took office in November, has been criticized for the delay in reaching delivery agreements for the vaccine.
Peru currently has 1,186,698 confirmed cases of coronavirus and recorded 42,308 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University (JHU).
The country has reported more than 6,000 cases per day, up from 2,000 cases per day in early January, and it also faces a shortage of intensive care beds and oxygen during this new wave of the pandemic.
According to JHU data, Peru has the fifth highest number of Covid 19 cases in Latin America after Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and Mexico.