- BBC World News
While most Latin American countries have already begun to vaccinate against the coronavirus, there are other nations that do not even have doses in their territory.
It is the case of Uruguay, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and CubaAlthough they hope to start vaccinating in the coming weeks or months, for now they are further behind.
Vaccination in the region, in general, is slower than in countries with more resources such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and members of the European Union.
But in recent days, more and more Latin American states have started their campaigns and it is expected that as the weeks go by and the arrival of more doses, the vaccination rate will accelerate little by little.
Covax, an initiative promoted by the World Health Organization and other international organizations, plans the distribution of vaccines for many countries in the region.
And experts consulted by BBC Mundo add that Latin America will also be helped by the distribution of doses from Russia and China, cheaper and easier to store, which is an advantage for less powerful economies.
But, what is the current situation like in the countries of the region that still do not have vaccines and when are they expected to arrive?
Of all the countries in South America, Uruguay is the only to which vaccines have not yet reached.
The president of the country, Luis Lacalle Pou, announced on January 23 the purchase of more than three million doses of Pfizer, in addition to the vaccines that they already had insured through the Covax platform.
Until February 23, no vaccine had arrived in the country, although the first doses of the Chinese Sinovac vaccine are expected to arrive on Thursday 25.
For the first batch of Pfizer doses, however, Uruguayans will wait until the beginning of March, according to Pfizer confirmed to BBC Mundo.
Authorities say they have a successful “pre-vaccination” plan ready to organize the logistics required for the distribution of doses.
The “delay” has provoked criticism and demands for explanations from sectors of the opposition.
Uruguay accumulated just over 50,000 cases and 583 deaths until this February 23.
The country, due to harsh sanctions by the United States, has more difficulties negotiating with foreign pharmaceutical companies, as explained recently by the Reuters agency.
However, the island is working on the development of at least four vaccines against covid-19.
Soberana 02 is the name of the inoculator that is most advanced and with which Cuba intends to start injecting as of next April. In that case, it would become the first country in Latin America to have its own vaccine.
If the vaccine is approved, Cuba hopes to produce 100 million doses of Sovereign 02 in 2021, enough to immunize its more than 11 million inhabitants and then export its vaccine or technology to other nations.
The island also shuffles the probability of offer the vaccine to tourists, its main economic engine.
The results of these clinical trials, however, have not yet been published in specialized peer-reviewed journals, so experts who are not involved in these studies ask for caution.
The island has registered 45,000 cases and 300 deaths.
At the beginning of the year, the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health announced efforts to obtain vaccines from international pharmaceutical companies via Covax.
He also reported that he was tracking purchases for the Russian vaccine Sputnik V, the American Modern, the Swedish-British from Oxford and AstraZeneca and the Indian Covaxin.
There is still no official date on the landing of the vaccines, although Covax estimates that distribution in the countries of the region will begin in late February or early March.
The country has had just over 6,000 cases and 172 deaths.
At the end of January, Dr. Ida Berenice Molina, head of the Expanded Immunization Program of Honduras, confirmed that the government had met all the requirements demanded by Covax and that it was ready to receive vaccines with donation character.
Like Nicaragua and Uruguay, the doses through Covax are expected to arrive in early March or late this month.
While this batch arrives, the government has also negotiated directly with “pharmaceutical houses such as Moderna, Pfizer and those in charge of Sputnik V,” according to the Honduran newspaper La Prensa.
Although the arrival of vaccines seems to be near, the authorities have stressed that these should be considered as additional support to control the pandemic, but that the population must continue with security measures and social distancing.
The Central American country had 166,000 cases and 4,000 deaths as of February 23.
Since the first coronavirus case was detected in March, Guatemala has accumulated 171,000 infections and more than 6,300 deaths.
Currently, the country is waiting for some 800,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines that were purchased through Covax, according to the government of President Alejandro Giammattei last January.
So, it was said that the vaccines would arrive before the end of February, although no batch has yet been received and there is no confirmation on what day they will arrive.
Meanwhile, the country holds several vaccination drills.
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