Venezuela gets another 50,000 doses of Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine

FILE PHOTO: Workers take care of the shipment of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the airport, in Caracas, Venezuela March 29, 2021. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela has received a batch of 50,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, Health Minister Carlos Alvarado said on Thursday, as COVID-19 cases spike in the South American nation.

Venezuela had previously acquired 250,000 Sputnik V vaccines and 500,000 doses of the shot developed by China’s Sinopharm, which so far have been administered to public officials, health workers, teachers and some senior citizens.

The new round of vaccines will also be administered to firefighters, civil protection personnel and workers who take oxygen to hospitals, said Alvarado.

“They are not part of the sector health, but they are exposed,” he said.

The government of President Nicolas Maduro over the weekend said it paid $64 million to cover vaccines via the COVAX system.

Separately, the government is in talks with opposition leader Juan Guaido to make additional vaccine payments with funds frozen in the United States.

Venezuela has reported 178,094 cases of coronavirus and 1,834 deaths, according to official figures.

Doctors and scientists have attributed the relatively low figures to a combination of early lockdown measures by the Maduro government as well as chronic fuel shortages in 2020 that significantly limited citizen mobility.

Some doctors also believe that the low figures are the result of limited testing.

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