Argentine President Coordinates with Putin and Xi Jinping on Vaccines, Economic Cooperation
Feb. 3 , 2021 (EIRNS)—Two days ago, Argentine President Alberto Fernández spoke by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin for a broad-ranging discussion on topics of mutual interest, key among which was the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine. Argentina has already acquired almost 1 million doses of Sputnik V, has begun its national vaccination campaign, and is scheduled to receive much larger quantities weekly for some months. At the same time, Fernández has been in contact with Chinese President Xi Jinping to pin down a contract for the first 1 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine, with a goal of eventually purchasing 30 million doses. For the past year, Argentina has maintained an effective “air bridge” with China, receiving a total of 42 planeloads of medical supplies needed to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Fernández’s discussion with Putin covered a range of topics, including Russian investments in infrastructure and aerospace as well as an invitation to Fernández to visit Russia, which he readily accepted. Fernández thanked Putin effusively for providing his nation with Sputnik V and said he hoped to receive as much as possible as it has proven to be so effective, Página 12 reported him as saying. The report published by the British medical journal The Lancet confirming Sputnik V’s safety and effectiveness has received wide coverage in Argentina, much to the chagrin of the neoliberal political opposition which has attacked both the Russian and Chinese vaccines.
Putin promised not only to continue meeting the terms of the contract with Argentina, but also to also make Sputnik V available to other Ibero-American nations. Fernández pointed out that Putin’s display of solidarity toward developing nations is very different from “other” unnamed nations that make it impossible for vaccines to be exported. The Russian leader further stated that he was very pleased at how joyfully Sputnik V had been received by the Argentine public—an exuberance also seen among Bolivians last weekend when the first 20,000 doses of Sputnik V arrived in that country.
Vaccine production is being ramped up in Russia, and Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russia Direct Investment Fund, the sovereign investment fund, announced in a press conference that he is already in discussion with several Argentine companies, “so that we can produce Sputnik V [in the country].... We will sign contracts with some producers,” so that production can begin in the next three months, Cronista Comercial reported him saying Feb. 2. Dmitriev wouldn’t name the companies involved, as negotiations are ongoing, but said they are “highly qualified.” The AstraZeneca vaccine is already being produced in Argentina by the national mAbxience lab.