COVID-19 vaccination brings "high hopes" in Argentina

BUENOS AIRES, Dec. 30, (Xinhua/GNA) - Argentina on Tuesday launched its vaccination campaign against COVID-19, generating "high hopes" for the battle against the pandemic.

On December 24, the South American country received the first 300,000 doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, of which 123,000 are to be applied in the central province of Buenos Aires, where 42 percent of Argentina's COVID-19 cases are concentrated.

At a vaccination center in Avellaneda, a town located 8 kilometers south of Buenos Aires, health experts spoke with Xinhua about the campaign.

"It is a historic day because of what this health measure being carried out throughout the country entails," said Juan Riera, Coordinator of Hospitals for the province of Buenos Aires' Ministry of Health.

The vaccination campaign, described by health authorities as the "largest in the history of Argentina," was rolled out simultaneously in all 24 provinces.

In 2021, the Argentine government will provide more than 51 million doses of the vaccine, a task that will require the work of 116,000 members of vaccination teams distributed in 7,749 health facilities throughout the country, according to official data.

"Those (working) in intensive care units, who are the ones with the greatest exposure to the virus," will be prioritised for immunisation, said Riera.

"It is an enormous job. There is no record of a vaccination campaign with these characteristics," he said, adding the logistics of the task also involved upgrading vaccination posts "with freezers" required to store the vaccines.

In the province of Buenos Aires, more than 17,000 people have received training to participate in the campaign.

"Now that we have the vaccine, we have high hopes, because the vaccine will allow us to reduce viral circulation and protect our population," Riera said.

Argentina registered its first case of COVID-19 on March 3 and as of Monday night has reported over 1.5 million cases with 42,868 deaths from the disease.