Caracas, May 3 (EFE).- A new shipment of 50,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine arrived in Venezuela on Monday, bringing the total number of doses received from that source to 430,000.
The South American country, home to around 28 million people, also had previously announced the arrival of shipments of the Chinese-developed Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine totaling 500,000 doses.
Health Minister Carlos Alvarado, however, confirmed Monday morning upon receiving the new shipment at the Maiquetia international airport serving Caracas that to date a total of 1.48 million vaccine doses have arrived in Venezuela, an amount he said was sufficient to inoculate just over 800,000 people currently in the immunization process.
The minister did not say whether authorities have received more doses over the past week nor indicate which vaccine it was. But for the quantity to be sufficient to vaccinate 800,000 people Venezuela would had to have received a single-dose vaccine.
Thanks to the new shipment, Venezuela now has a sufficient quantity of vaccines to fully inoculate all of the country’s more than 360,000 health care workers, according to the minister, who said authorities now will quickly move to vaccinate elderly people with two or more comorbidities.
Alvarado said those older adults have been selected through a platform that was created by leftist President Nicolas Maduro’s administration and is linked to the controversial Carnet de la Patria (Homeland Card), which the opposition and some government allies have criticized as a social control mechanism.
Elderly people currently living at state-run institutions also have been selected for vaccination, the minister said.
Other beneficiaries of the new vaccine doses will be “security personnel,” people under the age of 60 with two or more comorbidities, people who are HIV-positive, workers involved in essential services and those working in communications, he added.
Referring to the Covax mechanism, a World Health Organization-led effort that aims to ensure that low- and middle-income countries have access to Covid-19 vaccines, Alvarado said the Venezuelan government is “making extraordinary efforts” and has nearly paid the full amount owed under that plan “to vaccinate more than 5 million people.” EFE