COVID-19 vaccine to be mandatory, free for those over 18 in Argentina: official

An eventual vaccine against COVID-19 will be "mandatory" and free in Argentina for people over 18, said the Ministry of Health's chief of staff on Wednesday.

Medical workers inquire about the health status of a citizen in Buenos Aires, Argentina, July 8, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)

The vaccine will be "mandatory" to protect both individual and collective interests, Lisandro Bonelli said in an interview with a local radio.

People over 60 who have comorbidities as well as essential healthcare workers and security personnel will have "priority" for getting vaccinated before the rest of the population that is over 18, he said.

The government plans to initially obtain 10 million doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine by the end of December, should the vaccine's phase 3 clinical trials be successful.

Another 15 million doses would be acquired by January, contingent on validating all the procedures of national and international regulations, said Bonelli, adding that the maximum term for applying the vaccine would be the Southern Hemisphere winter of 2021.

Argentina registered its first case of COVID-19 on March 3, and has reported over 1,195,000 confirmed cases of infection and more than 32,000 deaths from the disease.