El Salvador acquires two million COVID-19 vaccines from China

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Outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in El Salvador

SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) - El Salvador's president Nayib Bukele said on Saturday that 1 million Sinovac vaccines against COVID-19 would arrive in the Central American country early on Sunday, the latest assistance against the pandemic to reach Latin America from China.

Writing on Twitter, Bukele said the shots were part of a 2 million vaccine purchase El Salvador made with Sinovac, and that the first 1 million were already en route from China.

Bukele thanked Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Chinese ambassador to El Salvador, Ou Jianhong, for their help in enabling the acquisition to come about.

The delivery is a significant boost for El Salvador, a country of around 6.5 million people which began its immunization campaign with the AstraZeneca vaccine in February.

Bukele said El Salvador would soon have enough vaccines to inoculate all senior citizens and people with chronic illnesses, as well as medical staff, emergency services and armed forces personnel, law enforcement officials, teachers and journalists.

The Chinese embassy also tweeted about the imminent arrival of the vaccines in El Salvador, which broke diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favor of Beijing in 2018.

(Reporting by Nelson Renteria; Editing by Daniel Wallis & Simon Cameron-Moore)