Venezuela receives new shipment of Sputnik V vaccine doses, antiviral tablets

Caracas, Apr 15 (EFE).- Venezuela has received a new shipment of Sputnik V vaccine doses and antiviral tablets that entered the country Thursday morning on an Azur Air flight from Moscow, Health Minister Carlos Alvarado said.

“We’re completing the second dose for health care personnel and older adults,” he told state-run Venezolana de Television after the arrival of the new shipment of 50,000 vaccine doses and 1 million tablets of favipiravir, an antiviral drug re-purposed to treat Covid-19.

Alvarado said this fourth shipment of Sputnik V, a vaccine developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, brings the total received to 300,000 doses and will allow Venezuela to start inoculating firefighters and emergency management personnel.

“A million favipiravir tablets also came in on this flight from the brother Russian Federation,” the minister said, noting that Venezuelan health authorities had included that antiviral drug in the country’s (anti-Covid) protocols and that it will be used to treat 25,000 coronavirus-infected individuals.

Besides the 300,000 Sputnik V doses, Venezuela also has received 500,000 doses of China’s Sinopharm vaccine.

Alvarado said Thursday that more than 200,000 of the Sputnik V doses have already been administered, but Venezuela’s government has not provided the same information for the Sinopharm vaccine.

Venezuelan authorities expect to inoculate 70 percent of the country’s population this year with vaccines from Cuba, Russia, China and those acquired through 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.

Venezuela signed an agreement with Russia in December for 10 million Covid-19 vaccine doses, and on Saturday Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said the government had made an upfront payment to the Covax mechanism with a view to acquiring more than 11 million vaccines via that route.

President Nicolas Maduro also said his country will produce Cuba’s Abdala vaccine, which still has not cleared all of the clinical trial phases.

No details have been provided yet about the agreement with China.

Venezuela had 178,094 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,834 Covid-19 deaths through Wednesday, according to government figures. EFE


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