China Has Supplied 64% of Bolivia’s Covid-19 Vaccines

Bolivia has acquired more than 2.65 million vaccine doses against Covid-19 to date, with the majority of vaccines sourced from China and Russia.

Vice Minister of Foreign Trade, Benjamín Blanco, said the country’s mass vaccination campaign will be sped up with the latest shipments of Sinopharm and Sputnik V, both of which arrived in large quantities in recent days.

“In total, from Sinopharm we have received 1.7 million, of that number 1.5 million have been acquired at preferential prices and 200,000 have been donated by the People’s Republic of China,” he detailed.

In addition to the 1.7 million doses of Sinopharm and 645,000 doses of Sputnik V, the country was also able to acquire 320,430 vaccines through the Covax mechanism: 228,000 from Astrazeneca and 92,430 from Pfizer. A total of 2,665,430 have been imported since the first shipment arrived in January.

Vice Minister Blanco also said that new shipments of Astrazeneca and Pfizer are expected for June, depending on the speed with which the manufacturing laboratories can meet orders. He also emphasized that Bolivia has received a high quantity of doses as a result of relations with China and Russia.

As we reported previously, Bolivia submitted a request to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to apply a compulsory licensing procedure.

The WTO confirmed that it received notification from Bolivia regarding the country’s need to import 15 million doses and its intention to do so through the use of Article 31bis of the TRIPS Agreement.

“This is an example of a WTO member seeking to make use of available tools under the TRIPS Agreement to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, even as members seek to expand the range of options through the TRIPS waiver proposal,” said Antony Taubman, Director of  the WTO’s Intellectual Property Division. “This step provides one practical component of what could be a wider process of countries signaling urgent and unmet needs and encouraging a combined, coordinated response by international partners.”

The MAS government now awaits word from the Canadian government on whether or not it will support the bid to ensure a sufficient supply of vaccines, all while Bolivia continues its campaign for the total liberation of patents.