UPDATE 1-Argentina to start COVID-19 vaccinations before year-end with Russia's Sputnik V

(Adds comments and details from Argentina President Alberto Fernandez, graphic)

MOSCOW/BUENOS AIRES, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Russia has agreed a deal with Argentina to supply 10 million doses of its Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, which will allow the South American country to start vaccinating people this month.

Argentina President Alberto Fernandez said that the country had signed the agreement with Russia’s sovereign wealth fund which would allow them to vaccinate 300,000 people in December and reach 10 million people in January-February.

There was an option to receive more doses to inoculate 5 million more people in March, he said, adding his support for the quality of the vaccine, which Russia says is over 90% effective.

“When the Russian vaccine is in Argentina, the first person to get it will be me. I have no doubt in the quality of the vaccine,” he said at a press conference in Buenos Aires.

“Having a contract that tells us exactly when the vaccines will be able to reach Argentina is a step forward and gives great peace of mind,” he added, saying first doses would be for high-risk groups and essential health workers and teachers.

Argentina, has nearly 1.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 40,222 deaths, though the daily rate of infection has dropped significantly in recent months.

Argentina has already tied up deals for 22 million doses of the Oxford vaccine being developed with AstraZeneca and with the vaccine programme COVAX. The Russian vaccine will cost less than $20 per person for the necessary two doses.

Reporting by Anton Kolodyazhnyy and Polina Devitt and Eliana Raszewski in Buenos Aires; Writing by Andrey Ostroukh and Adam Jourdan; Editing by Alison Williams and Marguerita Choy