Mérida, February 24, 2021 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela has begun to vaccinate its 30 million citizens against the Covid-19 virus.
The first 100,000 doses of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine, which arrived in the Latin American country last week, will be given to medical staff and other healthcare workers from both public and private sectors, as well as National Assembly lawmakers and security personnel.
Venezuela has purchased 10 million doses at a reported cost of US $200 million. The remaining vaccines are due to arrive "progressively" during the upcoming weeks.
According to Health Ministry sources, mass vaccination is due to being in April, and the target is to cover 70 percent of the population by the end of the year. No details have yet been offered on which sectors of society are due to be prioritised.
Caracas has reported severe difficulties in purchasing international vaccines due to the US-led blockade against the country. Apart from the Sputnik V vaccine, authorities have also mentioned talks to include China's Sinovac and Cuba's Soberana in vaccination efforts. The country is also due to benefit from the United Nation's COVAX program.
The first Venezuelan to be vaccinated was 37-year-old surgeon Glendys Rivero from the Victoria Santaella Hospital in Miranda state. She is due to receive the second dose in 21 days.
"The doctors and nurses are extremely satisfied," President Nicolas Maduro told press. "I wish to thank them because if it weren't for them and all the healthcare staff, it would have been impossible to attend to the population."
"Venezuela has set an example to the world," he went on to comment.
The Caribbean country has fared much better than neighboring countries, totaling 137,000 Covid-19 cases and 1325 deaths to date.