Argentina opens the door to US vaccine donations with authorized changes

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A woman receives a dose of the Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac) vaccine against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at Tecnopolis Park in Buenos Aires, Argentina, April 15, 2021. REUTERS / Agustin Marcarian

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina will adjust legislation to help the country receive U.S. donations of COVID-19 vaccinations, senior officials said Friday, a move that could also help close deals that are turning out have proven difficult at drug manufacturers such as Pfizer Inc. (NYSE 🙂

A government decree will soften negligence legislation, remove a reference to “fraudulent maneuvers” and create a fund to compensate people harmed by a vaccine.

The previous language had hampered negotiations with vaccine companies, and the changes could help Argentina step up its vaccine program as it grapples with cases and deaths among the highest in the world.

"This regulation will facilitate and encourage the possibility of access to more vaccines," said Minister of Health Carla Vizzotti late Friday, adding that it will provide better access through the WHO / Gavi-led COVAX program and through donations, particularly from the United States, would allow.

The United States recently announced donations of Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:) vaccines to Peru and Colombia, respectively.

Argentina, currently facing a second wave of COVID-19, has recorded around 4.5 million cases of the virus and 95,382 deaths.

The vaccine program is largely based on the Russian Sputnik-V vaccine, China's Sinopharm and the AstraZeneca (NASDAQ 🙂 vaccine developed with Oxford University.

Vilma Ibarra, Bureau legal and technical secretary, said the decree was "the result of discussions and concessions with the laboratories that supply the vaccines" about legal obstacles.

"We have come to a text that we understand will facilitate and include the possibility of acquiring vaccines for children and expanding the range of vaccines for the general population," said Ibarra.

The Argentine authorities have given 21.6 million vaccinations, with approximately 4.3 million people receiving two doses. The South American county has a population of around 45 million people.

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