Peru receives first shipment of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines
Peru on Sunday received the first batch of vaccines from Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinopharm as the South American country is preparing for mass vaccination campaigns against COVID-19.
Peruvian President Francisco Sagasti welcomed the vaccines at the Jorge Chavez International Airport, 11 km northwest of Lima's city center, accompanied by Prime Minister Violeta Bermudez, Health Minister Pilar Mazzetti and Foreign Minister Elizabeth Astete.
"We are fulfilling the commitment we made to the entire country to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic by obtaining the vaccine, which is the best shield to protect ourselves and to care for all Peruvians," said Sagasti.
"We will start (vaccinations) with intensive care units, emergency units, surgical centers and those who directly support, that is, all those who are in the front line of defense against the effects of the pandemic," the president added.
During his speech, Sagasti thanked the Chinese government, "which throughout all these negotiations has demonstrated its good will," as well as Sinopharm.
Speaking to local TV Peru, Mazzetti welcomed the arrival of the vaccines, saying the rollout of vaccinations will allow medics to combat the pandemic "with a little more peace of mind."
"With the arrival of this emergency vaccine, we will have better conditions to be able to work, and we will also be able to help, in the second and third stages, all the other citizens," Mazzetti said.
The vaccines will be transferred to the headquarters of the National Center for Supply of Strategic Health Resources in Lima.
The distribution of the vaccines to 13 hospitals and health institutes will start Monday, according to the coordinator of the COVID-19 vaccination team of the Health Ministry, Nancy Olivares.
"Everything is ready. The distribution will be nationwide," she told a local media outlet.
As of Sunday, Peru has reported 1,186,698 COVID-19 cases with 42,308 deaths, according to the Health Ministry.