Argentina’s health minister and presidential adviser are visiting Russia to discuss delays in the supplies of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, the state-run TASS news agency reported Monday.
Argentina was among the first countries to use Sputnik V but hit “critical” second-dose shortages in late spring.
Argentine presidential adviser Cecilia Nicolini said in a leaked July 7 email to Sputnik V makers that the contract was “at risk of being publicly canceled” due to a shortage of 18.5 million first and second doses.
According to TASS, Nicolini and health minister Carla Vizzotti have set off for Moscow to discuss the delays and seek information about boosters.
“They will discuss with the Gamaleya Center a schedule of supplies and will share the results of joint study of [vaccine] combination,” the news agency quoted the Argentinian health ministry as saying.
Nicolini and Vizzotti will also “receive information about progress in the study of vaccination among children and teenagers, which is being conducted in this country, and of the use of booster doses.”
Vizzotti said earlier this month that Argentina will start offering second doses of the Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines to those who have received the first dose of Sputnik V, according to Reuters. The decision to combine different vaccines followed preliminary results of a trial conducted by Argentine scientists showing it to be safe.
Like Russia, Argentina has been battling the more-contagious Delta variant of Covid-19.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which markets Sputnik V worldwide, has promised to resolve the delays in August and double production in September through a partnership with the Serum Institute of India.
RDIF and Argentina’s Richment Laboratories have also promised to produce over 3 million second Sputnik V doses this month, according to Reuters.
Peer-reviewed research published earlier this year placed Sputnik V’s effectiveness at 91.6% despite earlier concerns of its approval and rollout ahead of large-scale trials.