Cabinet Chief Santiago Cafiero says Argentina’s government will sign a contract with the US biotechnology firm Moderna to purchase Covid-19 vaccines on Monday.
"We have important news that on Monday, after having been able to modify and reach a regulatory agreement, we will be signing with the Moderna laboratory for new doses for our country," said Cafiero as he made a presentation to the lower house Chamber of Deputies on Thursday.
"The Moderna laboratory is a North American laboratory that is also developing pediatric vaccines. That, for us, is great news," he added.
The deal was made possible by last week’s decree from President Alberto Fernández, which modified the conditions imposed on the state when signing agreements for coronavirus vaccines.
Cafiero also said that talks are ongoing with Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson over the supply of additional vaccines. Attempting to head off opposition criticism over the pace of Argentina’s Covid-19 vaccination process, the Cabinet chief said that it was “advancing with firm steps at the [same] rhythm as rich countries.
"Argentina already has 40 percent of the population vaccinated with at least one dose," he said, stressing that "is the record that Europe reached only 20 days ago."
He pointed out that among those aged over 20, the proportion of those vaccinated with their first shot rises to 58 percent.
Cafiero said that restrictions imposed by the government to head off the arrival of the more contagious Delta variant were necessary, though he acknowledged they had been “tough” on businesses and citizens. “They work,” he argued, noting that “cases beginning to decline and intensive care units are beginning to thin out."
To date, the Cabinet chief said that Argentina had received 27,615,730 doses of vaccines against Covid-19 as of Wednesday night. That breaks down to: 11,265,830 doses of Sputnik V, 6,768,000 of Sinopharm, 580,000 of Covishield (AstraZeneca), 1,944,000 of AstraZeneca via the Covax scheme and 7,057,900 of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot, made with an antigen produced in the country.