Latin America turns to Chinese, Russian COVID-19 vaccines
Updated 15:00, 26-Feb-2021
People maintaining social distancing to enter a lab in Mexico, January 22, 2021. /CFP

People maintaining social distancing to enter a lab in Mexico, January 22, 2021. /CFP

Governments in Latin America are relying on COVID-19 vaccines developed by China and Russia to address their urgent needs as they are under the severe strain of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

It said that Latin American countries are turning to China and Russia as their vaccines "have a leg up on their Western competitors in developing countries because they don't require ultracold temperatures for shipping and storage." Their reliance also emerged as "the U.S. and other developed nations bought up nearly all the Western-made shots from companies such as Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc."

Read more:

The Lancet: Rich countries snap up 70% of COVID-19 vaccine doses

According to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China is exporting COVID-19 vaccines to 27 countries and providing vaccine aid to 53 developing countries. Health authorities in relevant countries have recognized the safety and effectiveness of Chinese vaccines with dozens of the countries approving the use of them, which "affirms the quality of China's vaccines."

Argentina has approved the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. The first batch arrived on Thursday night, making it the eighth Latin American country to receive China-made COVID-19 vaccines following Brazil, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Dominica and Bolivia.

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, who received the first shot of China's Sinovac on February 12, said the vaccine "is safe and effective," and "gave Chileans hope they would emerge from the pandemic."

"The view of many in Latin America is that this is not simply talk, but action from China," said Margaret Myers, director of the Asia and Latin America Program at the Inter-American Dialogue. "I think this will have a major impact."

Many Latin American countries have signed contracts on the use of Russia's Sputnik V, and vaccination with the vaccine has also begun in several countries, including Argentina, Bolivia and Mexico.

"Sputnik V is the vaccine for all humankind," Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, told the Wall Street Journal.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that China has never sought any geopolitical goals in carrying out international cooperation on COVID-19 vaccines, never calculated any economic gains, and never attached any political conditions.

"What we think about the most is to make vaccines public goods that are accessible and affordable to people in all countries, and make them truly become a people's vaccine," he said.

Search Trends