Dec. 29 (UPI) — Argentina and Belarus began mass coronavirus vaccinations utilizing the drug Sputnik V developed by Russia, officers mentioned Tuesday.

Belarus officers mentioned the vaccine is being issued alongside precedence standards established by the federal government with healthcare professionals being vaccinated first, adopted by academics, retail staff and different individuals who have contact with most people. Belarus officers mentioned the vaccinations are voluntary.

The vaccine additionally shall be manufactured in Belarus starting in late February or early March.

“We’re engaged on the manufacturing of completed vaccines at our pharmaceutical firms in collaboration with Russian companions,” Belarus’ Healthcare Minister Dmitry Pinevich mentioned. “It’s no large secret, the vaccine shall be made at Belmedpreparaty, our main enterprise that has the required manufacturing capacities, its personal science base, in addition to an extended historical past of profitable cooperation with Russian counterparts.”

In the meantime, Russian and Argentinian officers mentioned the primary batch of the Sputnik V vaccine was delivered to Argentina on Monday.

“We’re grateful to [Russian Direct Investment Fund], Russian members of the Russia-Argentina Enterprise Council, and significantly its Chairman Andrey Guryev for his or her efforts which have enabled the beginning of the biggest mass vaccination marketing campaign in Argentina’s historical past,” Amalia Sáenz, chair of the Argentine-Russian Enterprise Council, mentioned in a press release.

Native Argentinian media mentioned Axel Kicillof, governor of the province of Buenos Aires, was among the many first within the nation to obtain the Russian vaccine.

The preliminary match of 123,000 doses shall be given in province whereas the capital of Buenos Aires will obtain 23,100 doses, officers mentioned.