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Peru Buys First Batch of COVID-19 Vaccines

FILE - A medical worker takes care a patient at the intensive care unit (ICU) of the Emergencias de Villa El Salvador hospital, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Lima, Peru, Dec. 22, 2020.

Peru is expecting to receive its first batch of coronavirus vaccines this month to launch its long-awaited immunization program.

President Francisco Sagasti announced on Wednesday the government purchased 38 million doses from the Sinopharm laboratory of China, with the first 1 million doses arriving this month.

Sagasti said that because phase three of clinical trials of the vaccine was carried out in Peru, his administration was in a better position to access the Sinopharm vaccines.

He said, it also helped to verify the vaccine’s effectiveness among the national population.

The president said, the most vulnerable citizens would have priority is receiving the first vaccinations.

Peru also entered into an agreement to buy 14 million doses of vaccine developed by AstraZeneca with Oxford University, with the first batch arriving no later than September, or possibly sooner.

Peru also signed an agreement to buy an additional 13.2 million vaccine doses through the COVAX Facility, a group led by the World Health Organization, which aims to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines among less wealthy nations.

The president also announced Prime Minister Violeta Bermudez will lead a working group to oversee the implementation of the vaccination program.

Peru has recorded more than 1 million coronavirus cases and nearly 38,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.