As of November 1, USA will modify the criteria for entering its territory. Only people who have been vaccinated with any of the six formulas that already approved the World Health Organization (WHO), according to announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In this way, those who have the complete schedule with any of the following vaccines will be able to enter the country: Moderna, Pfizer, Janssen, Oxford / Astrazeneca (and its Indian version, Covishield), Sinopharm y Sinovac.

This implies a blow for those who received the Russian vaccine Sputnik V and, to a lesser extent, the Chinese vaccine CanSino and the Cubans Abdala, Soberana Plus and Sovereign 02, since at the moment none of these immunizers has been approved by the WHO.

The lack of OK from the UN agency will particularly affect millions of people in Latin America who want to travel to the US.

The case of Sputnik V

The problem is particularly urgent in the case of the Sputnik V, a vaccine widely used in several countries of the subcontinent, after several governments elected it after its approval in Russia at the beginning of the year, in a context of scarcity and global competition for immunizers.

Today Sputnik V is applied in Argentina, Bolivia, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Venezuela.

According to data published by the Pan American Health Organization, as of October 8, in Latin America 20,057,404 doses of Sputnik V have been administered to date.

The data shows that Argentina is by far the country with the highest number of Sputnik V vaccinated in the region: more than 15 million and 700 thousand people.

The president of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, was the first president to apply the Russian vaccine against COVID-19.  (TWITTER @ALFERDEZ)
The president of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, was the first president to apply the Russian vaccine against COVID-19. (TWITTER @ALFERDEZ)

It is the highest data at the regional level both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the vaccinated population, having received Sputnik V on 29 percent of those immunized with at least one dose.

That is, as long as the vaccine is not approved by the WHO or Washington, it does not change its entry standards, almost a third of vaccinated Argentines will not be able to travel to the United States.

On the other hand, in the Latin American countries that bet on a more diversified vaccine offering than Argentina, the percentage of the population vaccinated with Sputnik is notably lower.

It is the case of Mexico, a country that has already received 8.4 million doses of the Russian vaccine. A figure that barely represents 7.9 percent of the more than 105 million doses administered.

After Argentina, the second country that, in percentage, more vaccinated with Sputnik V it is Bolivia, with the 27% of those vaccinated who received this immunizer.

They follow Guatemala, Paraguay and Venezuela, with 19, 13 and 11 percent of vaccinated with this formula, respectively.

Nicaragua used Sputnik V in 40 percent of vaccinations. However, in this case the number of vaccinated – barely 900 thousand people – is too low to be meaningful.

Vials of coronavirus vaccines from AstraZeneca, Pfizer - Biontech, Johnson & Johnson and Sputnik V are seen in this illustrated image taken on May 2, 2021. (REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration)
Vials of coronavirus vaccines from AstraZeneca, Pfizer – Biontech, Johnson & Johnson and Sputnik V are seen in this illustrated image taken on May 2, 2021. (REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration)

Other vaccines not approved by the WHO, and therefore would not be accepted for entry to the US, are the Chinese vaccine CanSino and the Cuban vaccines Abdala, Soberana Plus and Sovereign 02. CanSino and Abdala are the only ones from this group under review by the UN agency.

In the region they have been administered to date 1,027,802 doses of CanSino, spread over Argentina (70 thousand people), Chile (500 thousand), Ecuador (380 thousand) and Mexico (data is not available). All these people will also not be able to enter the United States for the time being.

In contrast, almost all of the Cuban vaccines (22 million doses) were administered on the island. A smaller percentage -barely 30 thousand doses of Abdala- were used in Venezuela.

How the Sputnik V approval process goes

This Tuesday, WHO Principal Investigator, Soumya Swaminathan, said the agency could authorize the use of the Russian coronavirus vaccine before the end of this year, if the necessary legal documents are signed in the next few days.

The world health agency said last week that it would resume its review process of Sputnik V., having been suspended due to concerns about manufacturing practices in Russian plants and the possibility that the vaccine could be produced in a manner consistent with the required level.

Russian President Vladimir Putin bet on Sputnik to increase his geopolitical influence (Sputnik / Alexei Nikolsky / Kremlin via REUTERS)
Russian President Vladimir Putin bet on Sputnik to increase his geopolitical influence (Sputnik / Alexei Nikolsky / Kremlin via REUTERS)

Sputnik V was the first COVID-19 vaccine approved in the world. After the third phase of clinical trials, your effectiveness was measured in 91.6 percent.

Initially surrounded by skepticism, the vaccine received a strong boost in February this year, after the results of phase III trials published in the prestigious journal The Lancet showed that he had a 91.6% effective in preventing symptomatic covid-19 and 100% effective in preventing serious diseases.

The vaccine, made by the Instituto Gamalea, was authorized in 70 countries all over the world, in which more than 4,000 million people live. Total, more than 50 countries ordered Sputnik V from Russia. The vaccine will also be produced in other countries, such as Argentina, Brazil, China, India or South Korea, which would also sell it abroad.

Infographic: Marcelo Regalado

Keep reading:

The IMF raised its growth forecast for Latin America to 6.3% in 2021
Russia fails to stem the wave of deaths from COVID-19 and reached a new daily high

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