How many doses does each Latin American country receive from Covax?
Bogotá (CNN) -
Bogotá (CNN) -
The race for coronavirus vaccines has begun around the world and South American authorities are struggling to catch up.
The region accounts for about 15% of reported COVID-19 cases in the world, but less than 3% of global vaccine doses administered so far, according to data compiled by the University of Oxford.
Amid a devastating second wave, governments are seeking help abroad, creating opportunities for "vaccine diplomacy" in a global competition for influence, experts say.
"Latin American countries will compete for vaccines and medical supplies no matter where they come from," said Parsifal D'Sola, founder and executive director of the Andrés Bello Foundation, a group of experts dedicated to Sino-Latin American relations.
"So far, developed nations have bought more than 50% of available vaccines, so Latin America will likely turn to China and Russia to fill the gap."
"Most likely, China, which has a massive production capacity, will seize the opportunity to distribute vaccines to the Global South and promote itself as a leading power that looks out for the interests and well-being of the developing world," he added.
: The Chinese Sinovac vaccine has a low effectiveness, according to Brazilian health authorities
The Coronavac, manufactured by the Chinese company Sinovac, is already part of the large-scale distribution in Brazil.
The Russian Sputnik V vaccine has been adopted by several countries, including Argentina and Bolivia.
But overall, regional vaccine delivery is messy and uneven without a coordinated approach, and it remains to be seen how the pandemic could shape the future diplomatic relationship between South America and the rest of the world.
As Cynthia Arnson, director of the Latin American Program at the Wilson Center's policy forum in Washington, told CNN, the countries of South America "have rarely been so disunited and unable to forge common strategies."
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The left-wing government of Alberto Fernández was one of the first in the world to secure orders for the Sputnik V vaccine developed by Russia.
In December, the flag carrier Aerolineas Argentinas tweeted live a special flight to Moscow to collect the first doses, a sign of how close the partnership with Russia looks in Buenos Aires.
Argentina has also obtained orders from other manufacturers for a total of almost 50 million doses, according to the Duke University database of pre-purchase agreements for vaccines.
All vaccines dispensed so far have been from Russia.
: Can Argentina become a producer and exporter of vaccines?
What is the vaccination situation in Brazil?
Brazil has been among the worst affected in the world by the coronavirus, and its vaccine saga has turned ugly with state governors criticizing the federal government for lack of coordination and President Jair Bolsonaro casting doubt on vaccines.
Compared to its neighbors, Brazil has a strong vaccine manufacturing capacity.
However, experts say the country lagged behind in the race to buy active ingredients to produce them.
Now the country's best hope is the Chinese Coronavac vaccine, an ironic result given Bolsonaro's signs of hostility toward China.
In Brazil, more than 2 million doses have already been dispensed, by far the highest number in the region.
: How the vaccination plan against covid-19 in Brazil fell apart
Bolivia underwent a power shift in November when left-wing President Luis Arce replaced Jeanine Áñez.
While waiting for the first doses of COVAX assigned to Bolivia, Arce has been able to secure at least 20,000 doses of Russian vaccines, which arrived in Bolivia on January 28.
The purchase signals closer relations with Russia and Argentina, where President Fernández is a close ally of Arce and his predecessor Evo Morales.
Public data from Duke University shows that Chile previously purchased vaccines from Western manufacturers AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, but the largest order was placed for China's Coronavac.
China is already Chile's main economic partner.
Despite ordering more than 90 million doses of vaccines for a population of less than 20 million people, Chile's vaccination program has yet to recover.
: More than 140,000 people are vaccinated in Chile in one day
Colombia is the largest South American country that has not yet started vaccinations.
President Iván Duque responded to the criticism by saying that the country relied mainly on the COVAX mechanism and promised that vaccinations would begin on February 20.
Colombia, the United States' closest ally in the region, did not buy vaccines directly from Russia, but recently announced a small purchase of the Chinese-made Coronavac.
: Colombia confirms first cases of covid-19 with Brazilian variant
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Last month, this Andean country began its vaccination program with the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine.
Like other nations in the region, it eagerly awaits the COVAX mechanism to begin delivering doses.
Ecuador will hold presidential elections on Sunday.
The leftist candidate, Andrés Arauz, has harshly criticized the government's management of the crisis and affirms that, if elected, he will get millions more doses from China and Russia by way of Argentina.
Guyana and Suriname
None have begun to vaccinate, but the impact of the pandemic has been less, with less than 10,000 cases in each of them.
Both should be dosed through COVAX.
The only landlocked country in South America is a case study for vaccine diplomacy.
Paraguay does not have diplomatic relations with Beijing and has recognized Taiwan, which is claimed by China, as the legitimate Republic of China.
Last year, a group of lawmakers submitted a motion to the Senate to change the recognition in favor of Beijing, hoping to receive more medical supplies to curb the pandemic.
The vote was not approved.
Paraguay has yet to receive a single dose of the vaccine, but expects more than 4 million doses through COVAX.
: The Latin American countries that will receive the most vaccines from the WHO through Covax
Peru in the face of covid-19: how is the health system?
Like neighboring Colombia, Peru has yet to receive any doses.
Both countries hope to be among the first to receive COVAX vaccines, but Peru has also taken advantage of China's Sinopharm vaccine to increase its arsenal.
In all, Peru expects more than 50 million doses, in part thanks to vaccine trials it conducted last year to provide valuable data to manufacturers.
After Venezuela, Uruguay has the lowest number of deaths from covid-19 reported per million people in South America.
The government has orders with Pfizer and Sinovac, while it also expects almost 2 million doses through COVAX.
One of the smallest countries in the region, Uruguay has already started vaccinations.
President Lacalle Pou has deplored what he called "an impressive trade war" over vaccines.
On paper, Venezuela is the South American country least affected by the pandemic.
However, serious doubts remain about the ability of the embattled government of President Nicolás Maduro to effectively track the cases in the country.
Maduro announced that Venezuela would receive vaccines from its traditional allies Russia and China as early as October, but a vaccination campaign has yet to be established.
: Guaidó says he is willing to channel help so that Venezuela receives vaccines from the Covax program
Maduro has also been waiting to receive the Cuban Soberana 01 vaccine, which is still in development.
In January, Venezuela was blocked from joining COVAX due to lack of payments, according to the Pan American Health Organization.