Russian officials have said the vaccine is 91% to 95% effective in blocking the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. File Photo by RDIF/EPA-EFE
Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Russia has agreed to distribute its locally developed "Sputnik V" coronavirus vaccine to millions of people in Algeria and Bolivia.
The Algerian government said it opted to receive the Russian vaccine after a meeting involving Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad and Moscow officials.
"[The Pasteur Institute of Algeria] carried out consultations with the Russian producer of the Sputnik V vaccine," Algerian government spokesman Ammar Belhimer said.
Health minister Abderrahmane Benbouzid said earlier this month that whichever COVID-19 vaccine the government decided to use would be distributed in Algeria at no cost.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund, the developer of the vaccine, said Wednesday it also had an agreement to supply 2.6 million doses to the government of Bolivia.
"Russia is proactively developing cooperation with Bolivia in the field of combating the new coronavirus infection," RDIF CEO Kirill Dmitriev said. "We look forward to expanding vaccine cooperation with other Latin American countries further on."
Russia's vaccine is already being administered in Argentina and Belarus. Officials in Belarus first began inoculating healthcare professionals, then teachers, retail workers and others who have common contact with the public.
Officials said the first vaccines were delivered to Argentina on Monday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the vaccine in August. Moscow says it is 91% to 95% effective in blocking the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. It is one of multiple vaccines worldwide that have been approved for use.
Some 20,000 American flags are placed by the COVID Memorial Project on the National Mall to represent the 200,000 Americans who had died
due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in Washington, D.C., on September 21. The death toll has since surged even higher. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo