Rollout of Covid-19 booster shots begins in Venezuela

Caracas, Jan 3 (EFE).- Venezuela has begun administering Covid-19 booster shots to its population in a bid to keep the pandemic under control, Health Minister Carlos Alvarado said Monday.

In an appearance on state-run VTV, he explained the different vaccination stages and said the country has all the doses it needs.

The first booster shots will be administered to doctors and nurses who are in direct contact with Covid-19 patients, while the next highest priority will be the country’s remaining health care workers, including paramedics and firefighters.

The rollout will include people over the age of 60 starting next week, while in the third week of January it will be extended to people under 60 whose underlying medical conditions put them at higher risk for severe illness from Covid-19, Alvarado said, adding that personnel who work with the general public will be next in line.

Beginning in February, the remainder of the population who completed their two-dose vaccine series more than six months prior will be eligible to receive the booster shot, the minister said.

The booster shots initially will be administered at hospitals, clinics and Integral Diagnostic Centers in the first days of the rollout and then be available at all of the country’s vaccination centers next week, according to Alvarado.

Despite the health minister’s remarks, Efe observed that the vaccine rollout began on Monday at the Alba Caracas hotel and that the shots were not only being given to health personnel or even people over 60.

Claret Rodriguez, 43, was among those who received the booster shot on Monday morning.

“It’s a way to protect the Venezuelan people against Covid-19. It’s an (extra) measure of prevention because I got my two doses at the time,” she told Efe.

Jesus Restrepo, who also went to the hotel on Monday, told Efe the process of getting the booster shot is painless and urged other Venezuelans to fully inoculate themselves.

“Lots of people still need to get vaccinated,” he said, adding that until that happens “we’re still going to be dealing with this.” EFE


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