TODAY NICARAGUA – Nicaragua’s government said Wednesday that it had approved Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.
“Nicaragua is advancing in its negotiations with Russia to supply” the vaccine, said the government channel El 19 Digital.
It was the first vaccine approved in Nicaragua, which still awaits its first doses.
The government had said in January that it had initiated efforts to acquire vaccines from various laboratories around the world and hoped to vaccinate 3.7 million people in an initial stage.
Rosario Murillo, Nicaragua’s vice-president and wife of Daniel Ortega, stressed that the effectiveness of “the Russian vaccine is 91.6% [according to a study by the scientific journal The Lancet], which will serve as a powerful tool” in the face of the covid-19 pandemic.
Sputnik V was homologated in more than 15 countries: from ex-Soviet neighbors like Belarus or Armenia to allies like Venezuela and Iran, but also in Argentina, Algeria, Tunisia and Pakistan.
On Tuesday, Mexican authorities also approved the use of the Russian vaccine. Argentina, Bolivia and Venezuela are among other governments in the hemisphere that have approved the vaccine.
Nicaragua estimates it needs more than US$115 million dollars to purchase vaccines.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), through the Covax mechanism, will provide Nicaragua with the vaccine for 20% of the population of 6.5 million inhabitants.
Covax is a United Nations mechanism to ensure equitable access to the covid-19 vaccine. According to the government, in the next few days the first batch will arrive through this route. There is still no date to start vaccination in the country.
The government of President Daniel Ortega has been criticized for not implementing stricter health measures to slow the virus’ spread.
Nicaragua’s Ministry of Health (Minsa) reported Tuesday (February 2) 6,299 confirmed infections and 170 deaths, but the Observatorio Cuidadano, a group made up of activists and independent doctors, has said the country’s COVID-19 death toll is like 3,000 from pneumonia or suspected of covid-19.