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Peru expects 'significant batch' of vaccines to arrive via COVAX in early 2021

·1 min read

LIMA, Dec 23 (Reuters) - Peru is set to receive "a significant batch" of COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX alliance during the first quarter of 2021, interim president Francisco Sagasti said on Wednesday, helping ease concerns in the Andean nation about how quickly it can get the vaccine.

Besides the deal with COVAX, Sagasti said Peru continued to negotiate with several other pharmaceutical companies to lock in supplies.

"Peru has already paid a first installment [to COVAX] and we have just been informed that ... in the first quarter they will deliver us a significant batch of vaccines," he said in a radio interview on Wednesday.

Sagasti said he could not yet confirm how many doses the country would receive in the coming months.

Peru inked its deal with the World Health Organization-led COVAX Facility earlier this year to acquire 13.2 million doses.

Peru has been especially hard-hit by the coronavirus, cresting one million cases on Tuesday, and more than 37,000 deaths. Its mortality rate from the disease is among the globe's highest, according to Reuters figures.

The pandemic coincided with a political crisis in Peru that saw three presidents hold office in a span of just two weeks. The turmoil left the country trailing other regional nations in its efforts to secure vaccines for its citizens.

The COVAX global alliance, designed to help secure vaccines for poor and middle-income countries around the world, says it hopes to deliver at least 2 billion doses by the end of 2021.

Peru has also signed a preliminary agreement with Pfizer Inc to buy 9.9 million doses of its vaccine, officials said. (Reporting by Marco Aquino, Writing by Dave Sherwood; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)