The aircraft carrying some 20,000 doses of the Russian vaccine touched down in La Paz on Thursday. On its way to Bolivia, the precious cargo made a stop in Argentina – which received another 220,000 doses of the Russia-made vaccine – before it was loaded up on a separate plane bound for the Bolivian capital.
READ MORE: President of Argentina inoculated with Sputnik V, praises creators of Russian coronavirus vaccine
Upon arrival, the plane was greeted by President Luiz Arce at El Alto International Airport. Arce personally inspected the boxes with the inoculation on board, and accompanied the freshly delivered vaccine as it was taken into storage.
On Twitter, Arce said that the much-anticipated delivery “opens a stage of hope for Bolivia,” adding that it was only “the first part of 5.2 million doses” to be procured from Russia.
Arce’s spokesman, Jorge Richter, said that Bolivia would start its immunization campaign on Friday, with the doses being earmarked for “the sectors that are most exposed and at the front line of contagion.”
In December, Bolivia struck a deal with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), the main sponsor behind Sputnik V, to supply the country with the vaccine.
Touting the impending delivery on Twitter earlier this week, Arce wrote that the scale of the first shipment was even larger than initially expected.
Sputnik V was developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow. It also became the first vaccine to be used in Bolivia’s neighbor Argentina, where the vaccination campaign is currently in full swing. Last week, Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez became one of the first people over 60 in his country to be administered the Russian-developed jab.
Earlier this month, Bolivia also signed the deal to purchase five million doses of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine from India. However, the first one million doses of the jab developed by the British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant are not expected to arrive in Bolivia until April.
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