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Nationwide COVID-19 vaccination campaign starts today

Also: Abortion, Edenor sale and Tucumán flood

By | [email protected] | December 29, 2020 1:46am

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-After 300.000 doses of Russia’s “Sputnik V” vaccine arrived in Argentina last week and were distributed throughout the country’s 24 provinces during the Christmas weekend, a nationwide vaccination campaign will start today to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Doctors and nurses in direct contact with COVID patients as well as lab technicians will be prioritized during this first phase of vaccination, with the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions, as well as other essential workers, to follow when more vials arrive in January.

Argentina has a contract for more than 10 million Sputnik V vaccines to come to the country during the summer (enough for five million people), and with AstraZeneca’s vaccine now also on the verge of approval in the United Kingdom (and ready to be manufactured in Argentina in early 2021, with more than 20 million doses expected to be distributed locally), the country could have enough to cover its most urgent priorities before the dreaded 2021 winter, although negotiations to expand current contracts and seal others with Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and China are also ongoing.

-While vaccination starts, Congress will be open and fully active, as the Senate debates the legalization of abortion in what promises to be a tight vote count, and the House of Representatives deals with the new pension adjustment formula, which has already been approved by the upper chamber.

-In economic news, one of Argentina’s most important public service companies, electricity distributor Edenor, changed hands yesterday, after Pampa Energía sold more than 50 percent of the company’s shares to local media and energy moguls José Luis Manzano and Daniel Vila, in association with Mauricio Filiberti (a businessman close to water works trade union leader José Luis Lingeri) and English businessman Michael Stevens. Since Argentina’s stock market crash began in the second half of Mauricio Macri’s presidency, Edenor lost nearly a staggering 95 percent of its market value.

-In Tucumán province, meanwhile, a new drama began to unfold, as pictures of a mass-scale flood in the capital Tucumán city circled the media from yesterday’s late afternoon, with cars and houses under water and tens of thousands of locals seeing the lights go out.