Amid Bolivia’s Covid surge, long queues for vaccines in short supply

La Paz/Cochabamba, Jun 7 (EFE).- Lines, crowds and complaints at the doors of health centers in the main Bolivian cities marked the continuation of mass vaccination on Monday, which is being carried out amid an escalation of third wave Covid-19 infections.

The same scenes are playing out in several of the most important cities in the country such as Santa Cruz, Cochabamba, El Alto and La Paz, with patients waiting hours for inoculation.

The elderly and older adults queue at the doors of medical establishments from 3 am local time (07:00 GMT), waiting to enter within the admission window for vaccinations.

This occurred at the Technical School of Health and the Faculty of Medicine of Cochabamba, one of the regions hardest hit by the pandemic in this third wave amid the collapse of the health system and the shortage of medical oxygen.

“People are used to wanting to be among the first (to be treated) and that is why they came at three or four in the morning,” Mary Cruz, the head of vaccination at the Cochabamba School of Medicine, told EFE.

In Santa Cruz, the largest and most populated department in the country, it was reported that the first doses of the vaccines were exhausted and that from Tuesday only second doses will be given in the 33 centers enabled in that region.

In La Paz there was a saturation of vaccination venues in the city center with people who had to wait around four hours to get a dose or, in other cases, lines exceeded the availability of vaccines set for the day.

In El Alto, one of the places where people converged the most was the Hospital del Sur, where the wait lasted several hours.

During a ceremony in La Paz for Teacher’s Day, Bolivian President Luis Arce repeated the request for the release of vaccine patents so that each country can produce and apply them to its population.

Bolivia is awaiting the arrival of 1 million doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine by the middle of this month, and about the same amount through the United Nations-backed Covax facility.

Since the end of January, the vaccination process, according to the latest report from the Ministry of Health, has reached 1,454,262 with the first dose, while 375,292 have received the second.

The third wave affecting the country since the beginning of May has seen days with more than 3,000 new cases and more than 100 deaths.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 15,024 deaths and 387,162 cases have been registered, of which 65,319 remain active. EFE


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