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Iran, Ghana Among Those Hit Hardest By Russia’s Vaccine Delivery Delays – BBC

El Alto International Airport, Bolivia Martin Alipaz / EPA / TASS

Iran, Ghana and other African and Latin American countries are some of the places hit hardest by delays in the delivery of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, the BBC has reported.

The Islamic republic, battling a fifth wave of the Delta variant-driven outbreak, has received around 2 million doses out of the 60 million it had ordered, according to the outlet’s media monitoring service. A joint venture has been announced to localize production in an attempt to boost supplies.

Ghana, which has a deal to import 3.4 million Sputnik V doses, had reportedly received 20,000 as of early July. Another Sub-Saharan African country, Angola, had received 40,000 doses in May out of a requested 12 million, with health authorities pledging new arrivals “soon.”

Honduras is among the several Latin American countries to have also hit a snag in Sputnik V imports, with one cabinet official saying “the supplier failed us.”

The head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which financed Sputnik V’s development and is marketing it abroad, pledged in March to deliver enough shots for 700 million people outside Russia in 2021. Bloomberg reported last week that Kirill Dmitriev declined to comment on whether he stood by that timeline.

Russia has delivered under 100 million Sputnik V doses to date, the BBC cited London-based science analytics company Airfinity’s data as saying.

The country has touted Sputnik V in the developing world as a cheaper and easier to transport way out of the pandemic than its Western competitors’ vaccines.

The Kremlin recently said that its domestic needs for Sputnik V have taken priority — with demand finally outstripping supply as more than half of Russia's regions introduced mandatory vaccination regimes — over its exports abroad. It pledged last week to resolve difficulties with Sputnik V’s overseas customers.

Russia has the fourth-highest number of Covid cases in the world at more than 6.3 million and the sixth-highest number of officially reported deaths. 

Data collected from regional governments by the monitor shows just over a quarter of Russia’s population has received at least one vaccine shot, and nearly 18% have been fully vaccinated as of Friday.

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