MANAGUA (Reuters) – Nicaragua is in talks with the Russian Gamaleya Institute to buy the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday.
The impoverished Central American nation is among the Latin American countries with the fewest pre-ordered vaccines to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
“Nicaragua is negotiating with Russian laboratory Nikolay Gamaleya to get the vaccine … Sputnik V,” Jarbas Barbosa, PAHO’s assistant director, told an online news conference. PAHO is the regional office of the World Health Organization
PAHO said Nicaragua will also start receiving vaccines through the COVAX facility coordinated by the World Health Organization to support lower-income countries from March.
Managua talks on Sputnik V add to a rage of interest from Latin American left-wing governments, with Mexico and Bolivia joining Argentina of early adopters in trying to block Russian vaccine supplies.
Mexican health authorities expect to make a decision this week whether to authorize Sputnik V after entering clinical data and are considering buying 24 million doses.
Nicaraguan Vice President Rosario Murillo confirmed late Wednesday that Nicaragua had begun making adjustments to buy vaccines, but did not specify which ones.
“We know there are four vaccines with efficiencies greater than 90% … we are fully in the process of signing purchase agreements as soon as possible,” Murillo said.
(Reporting by Ismael Lopez; Writing by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and David Gregorio)