By Maria Cervantes
SANTIAGO, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Peru has secured enough coronavirus vaccine to give nearly three-quarters of its population at least one dose when the immunization is available, a hopeful development for a nation with one of the highest COVID-19 death rates in the world.
The agreements announced on Friday with Pfizer Inc and global vaccine distribution program COVAX will provide 23.1 million doses for a population of 31.9 million. Some vaccine regimes will require two doses.
The Peruvian Ministry of Health said it had signed a binding agreement with Pfizer for the purchase of 9.9 million doses of its vaccine which is in testing. Another 13.2 million doses will be bought through COVAX, which is led by the GAVI vaccines alliance and the World Health Organization and aimed at promoting equitable access.
COVAX has signed agreements to buy vaccines from French drugmaker Sanofi, Britain's GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca and Novavax.
The ministry added in a statement that it was negotiating with other vaccine laboratories. These include China's Sinopharm Group Co Ltd and Sinovac Biotech Inc, Moderna Inc, Novovax, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and COVAXX, a unit of United Biomedical Inc and Gamaleya, the institute that developing Russia's main coronavirus vaccine candidate Sputnik V.
So far, the Peruvian government has signed confidential agreements with 13 pharmaceutical companies and non-binding agreements with 10 of those, the ministry added.
Health Minister Pilar Mazzetti said this week that she expects vaccines to arrive in Peru in the first quarter of 2021 before general elections on April 11, and vaccines will likely be administered in voting centers.
China's Sinopharm and the United States' Johnson & Johnson are conducting trials of their vaccines in the country, potentially allowing Peru to buy doses at a discount, the ministry of health said.
Peru has seen 111.55 deaths per 100,000 of its population, ranking third in the world for per capita mortality, according to a Reuters tally. (Reporting by Maria Cervantes, writing by Aislinn Laing; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
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