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News roundup 11/3: So many vaccines!

Fernández touts Russian vaccine, one of many the country is working to get

By | [email protected] | November 3, 2020 4:38pm

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Tired of the lockdown? Worried about catching COVID? No reason to feel down anymore, as Argentina keeps making deals with foreign countries and laboratories to bring in millions of vaccine doses over the coming months.

One small caveat though: we still need to prove that they actually work.

  • President Alberto Fernández announced yesterday that he reached an agreement with Russia to get 25 million Gam-COVID-Vac vaccines, also known as Sputnik V, developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology. The doses could be enough to immunize 12.5 million Argentines, as two shots are needed per person, but questions over its safety and effectiveness remain, with work to do still in terms of trials and approvals and doubts about whether they are anywhere near ready for widespread distribution.
  • Argentina is also working on test and access for multiple other COVID-19 vaccines. The country’s Huésped foundation is organizing trials for the China National Biotech Group vaccine, while thousands of Argentines have already participated in the tests for Pfizer’s project, and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines for Latin America are set to be manufactured on Argentine soil. All these projects (and many others) are moving forward simultaneously, as countries bet on many at the same time, knowing that some might end up falling short of the required standards.
  • Argentina has already counted 1.183.131 COVID-19 cases, with almost a million recovered patients and 31.623 deaths overall, 483 of them reported yesterday. Death figures remain worryingly high, as the country continues to run up the charts of most COVID-19 deaths per capita, growing at a faster pace than most Latin American nations, though it is worth noting that the deaths announced on any given day are often from days and weeks prior.
  • Attention will return to Argentina’s Supreme Court over the coming days, after the country’s top tribunal issued a middle-of-the-road ruling in a case over the transfer of two (out of three) judges directly involved in the revision of cases involving Vice-President Cristina Kirchner. The Court said Judges Leopoldo Bruglia and Pablo Bertuzzi will need to leave the positions to which they were moved during Mauricio Macri’s administration, but only after their replacements are named, this time following all the proper procedures. That process could take more than two years according to La Nación’s estimations, so Bruglia and Bertuzzi will now have to chose between  staying for the duration or resigning in protest.