Covid-19: Belarus, Argentina start vaccination with Sputnik V

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More countries are rolling out Russia's Sputnik V vaccine.
More countries are rolling out Russia's Sputnik V vaccine.
Nicholas Asfour/Getty
  • Belarus and Argentina have begun a rollout of the Sputnik V vaccine.
  • Belarus has registered more than 188 000 cases.
  • Argentina, meanwhile, is giving healthcare workers priority for the vaccine.


Belarus on Tuesday began a vaccination drive against coronavirus using the Sputnik V jab, becoming the first country outside Russia to use the vaccine developed by Moscow.

Belarus, with a population of around 9.5 million people, has registered more than 188 000 cases of coronavirus infections and nearly 1 400 deaths.

Belarus Health Minister Dmitry Pinevich said health workers and teachers would be among the first Belarusians to be inoculated.

Russia in August was the first country to announce the registration of a coronavirus vaccine - dubbed Sputnik V after the Soviet-era satellite - but did so ahead of large scale clinical trials.

Western and some Russian experts have raised concerns over the fast-tracked jab and critics have described it as a tool to bolster Russia's geopolitical influence.

Meanwhile, Argentina on Tuesday launched a Covid-19 vaccination campaign with the Sputnik V shots developed by Russia, the government said.

It is the first country in the Americas to use this vaccine against the pandemic.

The vaccination drive began simultaneously around the country with frontline healthcare workers given priority, Health Minister Gines Gonzalez Garcia said.

Argentina is now the fourth country in Latin American to launch a vaccination campaign, after Mexico, Costa Rica and Chile.

"We are going to have to keep taking care of ourselves. It will take a few months for the vaccine to have a widespread effect," the minister said.

A first shipment of 300 000 doses of the Russian product arrived here on Christmas Eve. It requires people to get two shots.

Another 19.7 million doses are supposed to be delivered in January and February.

The pandemic has killed nearly 43 000 people in Argentina.

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