CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela received a second batch of vaccines against COVID-19 through the COVAX mechanism on Sunday, with the arrival of 2.5 million doses, when the government says it seeks to achieve the immunization of 70% of Venezuelans.
Representatives of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in Venezuela, Unicef, and the Venezuelan government were present at the Maiquetía international airport on the outskirts of Caracas to receive the doses early Sunday morning.
Venezuelan Health Minister Carlos Alvarado said that along with the vaccines supplied by COVAX, the OPEC nation also has doses of Sputnik V from Russia and Sinopharm from China to inoculate its population, in addition to the Cuban Abdala.
“We already have in the country more than 29 million doses of vaccines that will meet the goal that the president has demanded of us for October 31” of having 70% of the population of about 28 million inoculated, said Alvarado in statements released by state television.
The government has said that Venezuela already has 50% of its population vaccinated, but scientific academies and specialists assure that the percentage would reach 21%.
Nicolás Maduro has assured for months that he had not been able to pay for the vaccines due to US sanctions designed to force him out of office, but during the first semester he said he had deposited funds to cover the COVAX payment in a Swiss bank account.
The first batch of the COVAX system arrived in Venezuela on September 7 with 693,000 doses of the vaccine manufactured by the Chinese Sinovac Biotech. In total, 11 million vaccines are expected to receive the South American nation through COVAX, supervised by the GAVI alliance and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Since March 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic in the country, and until yesterday Saturday, the Venezuelan authorities reported a total of 382,266 infections and 4,606 deaths. Guilds point out that the numbers are higher and that vaccination is slow.
Report by Vivian Sequera. Edited by Mayela Armas.
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