Spain to donate 5%-10% of its share of COVID-19 shots to Latin America

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People queue to receive the AstraZeneca coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at a new mass vaccination centre in WiZink sports arena in Madrid, Spain, April 9, 2021. REUTERS/Sergio Perez/File Photo/File Photo

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MADRID, April 21 (Reuters) - Spain will offer between 5% and 10% of its COVID-19 vaccine shots to Latin American and Caribbean countries this year, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Wednesday.

"Spain will launch this commitment as soon as it reaches the mark of 50% of the Spanish population vaccinated," Sanchez told the Ibero-American summit in Andorra, adding that he expected Latin American nations to receive 7.5 million doses by the end of the year.

The Iberian country aims to have half its population of 47 million fully inoculated by the end of July. So far around 7.6% have received a full course while nearly 21% have received at least one dose.

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Spain is entitled to over 93 million vaccine doses this year under an EU-coordinated purchasing scheme, mostly for double-dose inoculation, leaving it with millions of extra shots.

Top U.N., financial and vaccine officials last week urged rich countries to donate excess COVID-19 vaccine doses to the COVAX vaccine-sharing programme supplying lower income countries, which aims to buy up to 1.8 billion doses in 2021.

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Reporting by Belen Carreno and Andrei Khalip; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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