World

Peru kicks off COVID-19 inoculation campaign with Sinopharm vaccine

  • Peru, mired in a political crisis last year, initially lagged behind its wealthier neighbors in locking down COVID-19 vaccine deals.
  • Peru will then vaccinate 5.3 million elderly people, those suffering from pre-existing conditions and its native communities.
Published February 9, 2021

LIMA: Peru launched its COVID-19 vaccination campaign on Tuesday with newly arrived doses of China's Sinopharm vaccine, as the South American country struggles to control a fierce second wave of infections that has forced a lockdown in the capital Lima.

Health officials kicked off the program in the intensive care unit of Lima's Arzobispo Loayza Hospital, authorities said, where medical staff were slated to receive the first of 300,000 doses delivered by Sinopharm on Sunday.

Peru, mired in a political crisis last year, initially lagged behind its wealthier neighbors in locking down COVID-19 vaccine deals. The Andean nation has since signed agreements with US-based Pfizer, British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca and Sinopharm, and is also slated to receive vaccines through the World Health Organization's COVAX program.

The country plans to begin immediately inoculating one million health officials, police and military personnel, among others, the government said, in a first round of vaccinations that will likely run through March.

Peru will then vaccinate 5.3 million elderly people, those suffering from pre-existing conditions and its native communities.

Peru's deal with Sinopharm guarantees the country 38 million doses. A fresh batch of 700,000 doses are expected to arrive Sunday, health officials said.

Coronavirus infections have spiked in Peru this year, bringing hospitals and the country's ailing healthcare system to the brink of collapse. Authorities have detected both the Brazilian and British variants of the virus, officials said.

Peru has tallied almost 1.2 million cases of COVID-19 and 42,400 deaths so far.

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