Argentina signs deal with Pfizer for 20 mln COVID-19 vaccine doses, minister says

A vial and syringe are seen in front of a displayed Pfizer logo in this illustration taken January 11, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

BUENOS AIRES, July 27 (Reuters) - Argentina's government has signed a deal with U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) to acquire 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to be delivered this year, Health Minister Carla Vizzotti told reporters on Tuesday.

The agreement comes after Argentina modified at the beginning of the month the law regulating purchases of vaccines against COVID-19 to be able to access the doses of U.S. companies. Those companies had been reluctant to sign with the South American country under previous regulations.

"Yesterday (Monday) a binding agreement was signed with the Pfizer laboratory for 20 million doses during 2021. The final agreement that remains is based on logistical issues to start the delivery schedule," Vizzotti said at a news conference.

Argentina last week sent a letter to Moscow complaining about delayed delivery of doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. The opposition to center-left President Alberto Fernandez in Argentina had criticized his administration for slow action in signing vaccine deals with U.S. companies.

In mid-July, Argentina signed an agreement with American laboratory Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) for 20 million vaccine doses. In all, the country, with a total population of about 45 million people, has received almost 42 million doses, Vizzotti said.

The Pfizer, Moderna and Sputnik V vaccines each require two doses to be fully effective.

As of Wednesday, 104,105 people have died of COVID-19 in Argentina since the start of the pandemic. Only 6.1 million people in the country have gotten both vaccine shots so far.

Reporting by Maximilian Heath; writing by Hugh Bronstein; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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