As a role model for the rest of Argentina, he said he’d get the Covid-19 vaccine first. Argentinian President Alberto Fernández tested positive for the coronavirus just over two months after receiving the Russian-made Sputnik V.
The Argentinian President said a fever and a mild headache prompted him to get checked in a series of tweets posted Friday evening, his birthday.
“I’m already isolated, complying with the current protocol and following the instructions of my personal doctor,” he said. “I have contacted the people I met in the last 48 hours to assess whether they constitute close contact.”
According to Fernández’s medical team, an antigen test accompanied by a PCR test validated his Covid-19 diagnosis this weekend. According to them, the 62-year-old leader’s health is “healthy, asymptomatic, with parameters within normal ranges.”
In late December, Argentina became the first Latin American country to administer the Sputnik V vaccine, having purchased up to 25 million doses. According to a press officer at the Presidential Casa Rosada, Fernández got his first dose of the vaccine on January 21 and his second dose in February.
After being vaccinated, it is possible to become infected and test positive for Covid-19. Although vaccination reduces the risk of disease, especially in severe cases, it’s unclear how well each coronavirus vaccine protects against all infections.
The Sputnik V vaccine was created by Russia’s Gamaleya Institute, which wished Fernández well and stressed the vaccine’s high level of defense against serious illness.
“We are sad to hear this. Sputnik V is 91.6% effective against infection and 100% effective against severe cases. If the infection is indeed confirmed and occurs, the vaccination ensures quick recovery without severe symptoms. We wish you a quick recovery!,” read a message on Sputnik V’s official Twitter account, citing rates published February in the medical journal The Lancet.
Argentina’s first vaccination program was marred by controversy when it was revealed that a group of about 70 people had gained early vaccine access, prompting then-health minister Ginés González Garca to resign.
During a trip to Mexico in late February, Fernández defended his own early vaccination as appropriate and proper, though he admitted that the so-called “VIP vaccinations” took place under “irregular circumstances.”
“The media in Argentina put Alberto Fernández among the people who received the vaccine inappropriately, but I had to get the vaccine because the Argentine media said that the Russian vaccine could not be trusted. I had to call on the trust of the citizens,” he said.
Argentina’s government is on high alert, with just 1.5 percent of the country’s population completely vaccinated. According to Argentina’s state news agency Telam, the nation suspended all incoming flights from Brazil, Chile, and Mexico last week due to an increase in Covid-19 cases in those countries. Flights to and from the United Kingdom have been stopped as well.
Argentina had confirmed more than 2,383,000 Covid-19 cases as of Sunday, with 56,106 deaths as a result of the virus.
On Friday, Fernández tweeted about his diagnosis, urging the nation not to relax its guard. “It is clear that the pandemic did not pass and we must continue to take care of ourselves,” he wrote.