Uruguayan president Luis Lacalle Pou announced on Friday that a deal for the purchase of Pfizer/BioNTech and China's Sinovac anti Covid-19 vaccines has been reached. No further details were advanced, only that the president will announce details of the operation Saturday midday.
The government has just finished an agreement with Pfizer and Sinovac for the supply of vaccines to our country. At the same time we continue to negotiate the purchase of vaccines from other suppliers. In next hours we will give further information, Lacalle Pou tweeted.
Both vaccines have the approval from the ad hoc Vaccination Advisory National Commission, a dependency from the Uruguayan Public Health ministry.
Following the presidential announcement Public Health minister Daniel Salinas tweeted, vaccines ensured for our Uruguay, while vice president Beatriz Argimon added excellent news.
Although no additional information was advanced, local media said that Uruguay is currently holding talks for the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.
Uruguay was so far one of two South American countries that had not revealed negotiations for the purchase of vaccines, even when the inoculation process is ready for the operation given the long experience of the country with vaccination campaigns.
President Lacalle Pou was asked several times about the vaccines but always replied that negotiations were ongoing and that he could not make any announcement because of the confidentiality involving the purchases.
In related news the representative in Uruguay of the Pan-American Health Organization, PAHO, Dr. Giovanni Escalante announced that next March under the WHO/UN Covax scheme 40 million doses of vaccines will be distributed among countries in Latin America. This will be followed by a further 35 million in April, 45 million in May and 95 million in June.
The target is to support all countries of the region so they can ensure 20% of populations are inoculated, simultaneously, indicated Escalante.
Vaccines will be distributed simultaneously and proportionate to their populations and much will depend on each country's distribution capacity, and we are aware Uruguay is well prepared for the inoculation, helped by geography and experience added Dr. Escalante.
Uruguay despite closed borders is currently suffering a peak of Covid-19, with 17 deaths and 1.186 positive cases recorded on Friday, totaling since the beginning of the pandemic last March, 364 lives and 8.091 contagions.
According to the Harvard Pandemic Index, last week Uruguay entered the red risk zone with an average 25 cases per 100,000 people a week. Three are the critical areas of the country, two bordering with Brazil, Rivera and Rocha and the capital Montevideo, given the number of people returning from holidays by the sea, particularly young people more interested in partying and having a good time than in abiding by sanitary measures.
However despite the numbers, Uruguay from last week in an effort to boost the tourism industry, which this season is missing 3 million foreign visitors, allowed bars and restaurants to remain open for an extra two hours until 02:00 AM, and also the gradual reopening of cinemas and theatres.
The Legislative at the end of last year passed a bill limiting the constitutional right to assembly for two months, when agglomerations put at risk sanitary conditions.
But overall Uruguay is doing far better than its immediate neighbors, in effect Brazil with a population of 210 million has a record 213,000 deaths, and Argentina with 45,5 million, 46,220 deaths. Uruguay's 3,5 million comparatively should have suffered 3,500 live losses, but the death toll is 364.