“Close cooperation and periodical exchange of experience with the Russian side is very important for us, and our specialists are now holding active negotiations over the acquisition of the Sputnik V vaccine,” she told Sergei Kopyrkin, the Russian ambassador to Armenia, at a meeting in Yerevan.
A statement by the Armenian Ministry of Health quoted Avanesian as saying that her government is ready to buy Sputnik V in addition to another vaccine which is due to be supplied to Armenia by the COVAX Facility global partnership supported by the World Health Organization. No other details were reported.
The Russian Ministry of Health donated more a dozen doses of Sputnik V to Armenia in November. Then Health Minister Arsen Torosian and other senior officials were among Armenian volunteers who received the vaccine shots at the time.
The deputy director of the Armenian National Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Gayane Sahakian, said late last month that COVAX will soon deliver the first batch of the relatively cheap vaccine developed by the British company AstraZeneca and Oxford University
Sahakian said the Armenian health authorities plan to start vaccinating an estimated 3 percent of the country’s population against COVID-19 by the beginning of March. The “first phase” of the vaccination will cover medical workers, care home personnel, people aged 65 and older as well as younger people suffering from chronic diseases, added the official.
The authorities have so far announced no plans to vaccinate the majority of Armenians.
Armenia has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 167,000 cases and at least 3,096 fatalities officially confirmed in the country of about 3 million to date. The real number of cases is believed to be much higher.
Ministry of Health data shows that COVID-19 infections have fallen significantly in the last three months even though the authorities have largely stopped enforcing their safety and hygiene rules. The ministry reported on Wednesday that 190 people tested positive for the disease in the past 24 hours, down from more than 2,000 cases a day routinely registered in late October and early November.