Guatemala City, Jul 20 (EFE) .- Guatemala received a donation of three million doses of covid-19 vaccines from the United States on Tuesday, the largest batch to arrive in the Central American country since the start of the pandemic.
The vaccines, from the pharmaceutical company Moderna, arrived by air in Guatemala at approximately 3:30 p.m. local time (9:30 p.m. GMT) at La Aurora International Airport, as confirmed by local authorities.
Until this Tuesday, Guatemala had received 3,439,800 doses of vaccines received to prevent the spread of covid-19, both by donations and by private acquisition or through the Covax mechanism of the World Health Organization (WHO).
This Tuesday’s donation by the US represents the largest batch received by Guatemala and practically doubles the availability of vaccines in the country chaired by Alejandro Giammattei, reaching 6,439,800 doses.
The Guatemalan Minister of Health, Amelia Flores, was present at the airport to receive the doses and explained that with the donation they will be able to “provide vaccines nationwide” to the more than 700 immunization centers located throughout the territory.
The gift from the United States makes Moderna’s vaccine the most prevalent in Guatemala, followed by the one made by the pharmaceutical AstraZeneca and the Russian-made Sputnik V.
The charge d’affaires of the United States embassy in Guatemala, Daniel Fennel, assured during a brief ceremony at the air terminal that the vaccines are being delivered “without conditions” with the aim of “saving lives.”
The US official added that his country is “working shoulder to shoulder” with Guatemala to “combat this pandemic.”
With a population of 16.3 million inhabitants, Guatemala has one of the worst vaccination rates in the American continent, according to official records and international organizations, since only 258,703 people have received double doses of immunization.
The Giammattei government reserved and purchased 16 million doses of the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine last April with a payment of 80 million, 50 percent of the total cost.
However, to date it has received around 800,000 doses from Russia, despite the trip of the Guatemalan Foreign Minister, Pedro Brolo, last June, to try to speed up shipments.
The latest data update on Sunday from the Ministry of Health specifies that Guatemala adds 334,375 positive cases of covid-19 and 9,927 deaths due to the disease, the highest death toll in Central America.