what the most affected country in America will do with the US stocks and the doses it has left

The intricate vaccine approval process Sputnik V by the World Health Organization (WHO) affects the world in a heterogeneous way. In America in particular, only 8 out of 35 countries used the Russian vaccine: Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina.

When reviewing the percentages of vaccines used in each country, it can be seen that in Argentina the amount of Sputnik V represents the biggest bet of all: 35 percent of the total applied doses.

According to a recent CNN report, based on data from the Our World in Data site and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), for Bolivia the Russian vaccine represents 24 percent of the total number of vaccines received by its population; for Venezuela, 13 percent; for Guatemala, 17 percent; for Honduras, 1.5 percent; for Paraguay, 1.5 percent.

The percentage of Mexico is not exactly known, but it is lower, since it received only 6.5 million doses of Sputnik V. For Nicaragua it represents 45 percent, although on a total that is below one million vaccines.

Argentina and Brazil constitute two opposing paradigms with regard to Sputnik V. In the country of Jair Bolsonaro the vaccine was the subject of multiple controversies and objections, although these did not arise from public opinion as in Argentina, but from the state.

A vial of the Russian vaccine, the center of controversy. Photo: EFE

In Argentina, on the other hand, it was the second vaccine that obtained the approval of the ANMAT, in December, (after that of Pfizer) and now this scenario has been reached in which more than 11 million Argentines who received it see that the medicine will not serve as an immune passport as long as the WHO does not give you the green light.

Until November 1, Argentines will be able to enter the United States without restrictions, as was the case throughout the pandemic. Three weeks to go for the stocks to rule and since then, if the WHO does not accept Sputnik V, the immunized will be caught up in a Kafkaesque plot in which they did not choose to be the protagonists.

The paradox is that the American standard is actually intended as a opening of rights and not as a shackle. Opening for Brazilians and Europeans who until now could not enter that country, and now they will be able to do so with the complete scheme of any of the six vaccines approved by the WHO.

There are no Brazilians and few Europeans inoculated with Sputnik V (only Hungarians, Croats, Slovenes and Serbs). Neither do Uruguayans, Chileans, Colombians, Ecuadorians or Peruvians use it. Anyone with two doses in the countries that have avoided the Russian vaccine is assured of their international transit.

For this reason, Argentina has been in the center of the scene. The tweet launched ten days ago by the Russian Health Minister, in which he assured that small administrative details were missing for Sputnik V to be approved by the WHO, was not naive, dedicated to our country with the photo of a vaccination certificate dated in Avellaneda.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the OMS.  Photo: AP

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the OMS. Photo: AP

Nor has the letter spite of July been anecdotal, when the presidential adviser Cecilia Nicolini demanded explanations from the Russians about the slowness in the supply of the second component of the inoculant (at that time the international stock was not a central issue).

Letters and posts rounded off a quasi-matrimonial bond between Argentina and Russia. A Government that knew (beyond the scientific scrolls of the Gamaleya Institute) who did you marry. And an innocent offspring: Argentines who still today suffer the unwanted effects of that December crush.

In this game of uncertainty and intrigue, the Government seems to ignore the problem – at least publicly – instead of promoting diplomatic action and claim for rights of those vaccinated with Sputnik V. Of course that would mean granting the conflict official significance and the admission of a weakness, something that until now has been tried to avoid.

There are also contradictions in the WHO. A clear one, for example, is the fact that PAHO funds vaccine research in Argentina in which Sputnik V is the object of study as if it were just another vaccine, when, according to the requirements of the WHO, this inoculant supposedly does not exist.

Anyway, the contract for 30 million doses, Argentina received so far more than 19 million, of which 11.3 million correspond to component 1 and 8.3 million, to 2.

Arrival of a batch from Sputnik to Ezeiza in August.  Photo: Presidency of the Nation

Arrival of a batch from Sputnik to Ezeiza in August. Photo: Presidency of the Nation

This means that they are still pending delivery 3.7 million complete schemes, in addition to the three million second doses owed to those who already have the first.

At this point in the vaccination operation, there would no longer be anyone to immunize with first doses of Sputnik V, since those over 18 years of age who have not yet received any dose are being covered with the Chinese unit doses of Cansino (also not yet approved by the WHO) .

In this context, Russia has decided to redouble the promotion of Sputnik Light (first component) as third dose. In a tweet in the last hours, their spokesmen have affirmed that this partial immune option supplied independently produces best results versus the Delta variant than most two-dose vaccines.

Will the Government correspond to this new attempt to seduce its main health partner? Will that be the destination he will choose for the remainder of the contract? If so, it is to be hoped that the Argentines who eventually benefit from a reinforcement of Sputnik V may finally be receiving, a recognized vaccine by the highest global health authority.

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