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LATIN AMERICA | 07-01-2021 16:07

Putin’s allies are ordering Sputnik vaccine across Latin America

Argentina, Venezuela and now Bolivia have all approved Russia's Sputnik vaccine for emergency use. In all, the countries have placed orders for more than 30 million doses.

Sputnik V, the Covid-19 vaccine developed by an arm of the Russian government, has been met with deep scepticism from regulators across the world.

Except in Latin America. In Argentina, Venezuela and now Bolivia – all run by leftist presidents with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin – Sputnik has been approved for emergency use. In all, the countries have placed orders for more than 30 million doses of the vaccine.

Argentina last month became the first country outside the former Soviet bloc to deploy the Russian shots. And the governments of Nicaragua and Cuba, also long-standing Putin allies, have said that Russia could start producing the vaccine at local facilities.

Regulators in many countries have been unwilling to give Sputnik V fast-track approval, even as they welcome US and European vaccines. Russia’s rapid approval of the vaccine, before its developers had published scientific data and after only limited trials, undermined confidence.

Russia says the criticism are part of a long-running disinformation campaign against it, and Putin said his own daughter had the shots.

Argentina’s Health Ministry reported that the first 39,599 vaccinations had produced 1,088 adverse reactions as of January 3, including fever and headaches.

More than 15.6 million doses of various vaccines in 37 countries have been administered so far, according to data collected by Bloomberg.

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by Matthew Bristow, Bloomberg

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