Airport employees unload the first shipment of Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine after it arrived at the international airport in El Alto, Bolivia, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)
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MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) — Nicaragua’s government said Wednesday that it had approved Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.

“Nicaragua is advancing in its negotiations with Russia to supply” the vaccine, said the government outlet El 19 Digital.

It was the first vaccine approved in Nicaragua, which still awaits its first doses.

The government had said in January that it had initiated efforts to acquire vaccines from various laboratories around the world and hoped to vaccinate 3.7 million people in an initial stage.

The government of President Daniel Ortega has been criticized for not implementing stricter health measures to slow the virus’ spread. The Health Ministry reported Tuesday nearly 6,300 confirmed infections and 170 deaths, but the Citizen Observatory made up of activists and independent doctors has said the country’s COVID-19 death toll is approached 3,000.

Nicaragua’s approval of Sputnik V follows Mexico’s on Tuesday. Argentina, Bolivia and Venezuela are among other left-leaning governments in the hemisphere that have approved the vaccine.