Argentine lab makes first half million doses of Russian COVID-19 vaccine

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FILE PHOTO: Vials labeled Sputnik V coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentine laboratory Richmond said on Friday that it had produced almost half a million doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus, the first made in the country.

The vaccines await approval from the National Administration of Medicines, Food and Medical Technology (ANMAT) and Russia's Gamaleya Institute for their release, Richmond said in a tweet.

"We appreciate the hard work it took our staff to achieve this first objective, and continue with our commitment to have local vaccine production," it said.

Argentina has had a slow rollout of its inoculation program with about 18 million doses applied so far. But only a little more than 3.5 million people have gotten both doses. The vaccines being applied in Argentina are Sputnik V, AstraZeneca, Sinopharm and previously CoviShield.

To date, Argentina has had 88,247 deaths from COVID-19.

"Today we celebrate this new milestone in the production of Sputnik V," Argentine Production Minister Matias Kulfas said.

(Reporting by Agustin Geist; writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Leslie Adler)