(Adds comment from CABEI)
TEGUCIGALPA, Aug 31 (Reuters) - The Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) has approved a $400 million loan to seven regional nations and the Dominican Republic for the acquisition and distribution of a coronavirus vaccine, the bank said in a statement on Monday.
Latin American nations have worried they will be left at the back of the queue when a vaccine is developed as wealthier nations such as the United States and Britain have sought to buy early supplies from leading vaccine manufacturers.
Argentina and Mexico, two partner nations of CABEI, have already signed deals with the University of Oxford and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca Plc to mass-produce vaccines for countries across the region.
Dante Mossi, CABEI’s president, said the deal will allow “timely and efficient” access for Central America.
“This approval ... allows the countries in the Central American region to access this medical supply when it becomes available and to implement immunization actions for their population,” CABEI said in a statement.
Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic will each receive $50 million as part of an emergency support program for the coronavirus pandemic.
Reporting by Gustavo Palencia in Tegucigalpa, Honduras Writing by Drazen Jorgic Editing by Matthew Lewis
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