QUITO, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- Ecuador has secured 4 million doses of possible vaccines for COVID-19, Health Minister Juan Carlos Zevallos said Wednesday.
It was achieved through purchase agreements reached on Oct. 17 and 19 for access to 2 million doses from U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech SE, and 2 million doses from COVAX, a global initiative backed by the World Health Organization to ensure effective and equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines, Zevallos said.
Ecuador is "exhausting all possible means to receive the vaccines in a timely manner, at the best price so that they can be distributed to the population that needs them," he said, adding all vaccines entering the country will be certified by Ecuador's National Agency for Health Regulation, Control and Surveillance.
COVID-19 has taken over a million lives on the planet, and vaccines against the disease "will be one of the most effective measures in public health to contain this pandemic," Zevallos said.
"We want an effective and safe vaccine that arrives on time and at a reasonable price for the country," he said, adding groups such as medical personnel, people aged 65 and above, and those with disabilities will be immunized first once the country has the vaccines.
According to the Ecuadorian Health Ministry, the country has so far registered 154,115 confirmed cases and 8,115 deaths.