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Argentina approves Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

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BUENOS AIRES, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Argentina's drug regulatorhas authorized the emergency use of Sinopharm's COVID-19 vaccineahead an expected delivery of 1 million doses of theChinese-made jab.

The country, which was rattled in recent days by a VIPvaccine scandal that led to the resignation of the healthminister, is ramping up its inoculation program, which has sofar been largely built around Russia's Sputnik V.

The office of President Alberto Fernandez said that 1million doses of the Chinese vaccine, which requires two dosesper person, were expected to arrive in the South Americancountry in the next few days.

"This will be a new vaccine that our country will have aspart of the national government's prevention strategy in thefight against the COVID-19 pandemic," the government said.

Argentina, which has a population of about 45 million, hasso far received 1.22 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine fromthe Russian Gamaleya Institute and 580,000 doses of theCovishield vaccine, manufactured by the Indian Serum Instituteand developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca.

The country's new Health Minister Carla Vizzotti, who wassworn in on Saturday, has pledged to strengthen oversight andtransparency of the inoculation program.(Reporting by Walter Biannchi; Writing by Adam Jourdan; Editingby Daniel Wallis)