Argentina’s President Tests Positive for Coronavirus Despite Vaccination

Americas|Argentina’s President Tests Positive for Coronavirus Despite Vaccination

Alberto Fernández, who received early results on his 62nd birthday, was confirmed to have the virus in a later PCR test. His symptoms were said to be mild.

Credit…Esteban Collazo/Argentinian Presidency, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

BUENOS AIRES — President Alberto Fernández of Argentina tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday and was experiencing mild symptoms despite having been vaccinated earlier this year, becoming the latest in a series of world leaders who have contracted the virus.

In a series of tweets sent early Saturday, Mr. Fernández said a “light headache” and a temperature of 99.1 degrees had prompted him to take a quick antigen test. Its positive finding was confirmed later Saturday by a more rigorous PCR test, said Dr. Federico Saavedra, the president’s physician.

Mr. Fernández’s symptoms were “mild due in large part to the protective effect of the vaccine,” Dr. Saavedra said.

The president, who first learned the preliminary result on Friday, his 62nd birthday, said he would remain in isolation. “I am physically well, and although I would have liked to end my birthday without this news, I’m also in good spirits,” the president wrote on Twitter.

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Credit…T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

Word of Mr. Fernández’s test results comes shortly after Argentina tightened its borders amid an upsurge of Covid-19 infections. Several neighboring countries, particularly Brazil, are experiencing a sharp increase in cases as new, more contagious variants of the virus engulf the region. Argentina recently canceled all direct flights with Brazil, Chile and Mexico in an effort to block the new strains.

Argentina was the first country in Latin America to approve the use of the Sputnik V vaccine, in late December, but mass inoculations are taking longer than the government had initially predicted amid a global shortage of the vaccine. The country has also been administering China’s Sinopharm vaccine and Covishield, the Indian version of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Of the nation’s 45 million people, 683,771 have received two vaccine doses, and there have been 4.18 million doses injected over all.

Argentina said on March 26 that it would delay applying the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine for three months in an effort to ensure as many people as possible get at least one dose. The country has reported nearly 2.4 million Covid-19 infections and more than 56,000 deaths.