First coronavirus vaccine administered in Bolivia

Santa Cruz (Bolivia) (AFP) –


A nurse on Friday became the first person in Bolivia to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, receiving a shot of Russia's Sputnik V, which is still being tested.

Sandra Rios Villarte, 40, sat for her first dose at a public hospital in Santa Cruz, followed by dozens of other health workers.

"I feel good, excited... a bit nervous, but positive," said Rios, adding she "did not feel" the jab.

Bolivia on Thursday received the first 20,000 of 5.2 million doses of Sputnik V it has ordered from Russia.

The South American country has also signed a deal with India's Serum Institute for five million doses of the vaccine produced by AstraZeneca, which has been having trouble meeting orders due to production problems.

It should also receive a further five million AstraZeneca doses via the UN's Covax distribution system.

Bolivia has registered more than 210,000 coronavirus cases and over 10,000 deaths among its 11.5 million inhabitants.

Former president Evo Morales was among those to require treatment after an infection.

Like other countries in South America and elsewhere, Bolivia is battling a second epidemic wave.

Sputnik V was registered in Russia in August -- months ahead of Western competitors but before the start of Phase 3 clinical trials, which are still under way. The shot has since been approved for emergency use in a number of countries.