Stab in the dark

Venezuela plans to roll-out Russian and Chinese vaccines.

Just as the world and the markets welcome the news that Pfizer and BioNtech’s vaccine candidate was found to be more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19Nicolas Maduro had already announced plans to vaccinate all Venezuelans, by the first quarter of 2021, with Russia’s coronavirus vaccine candidate with Chinese vaccines also lined up.  

The first phase III Sputnik V vaccines arrived in Venezuela on 2 October but neither the Venezuelan government nor the Russian authorities have disclosed how many doses they received, which agency will monitor the health of the volunteers or how much it is going to cost. The lack of information is worrying … there is nothing more counterproductive for a vaccination program than the mistrust, highlighted Dra. María G. López G., president of the Venezuelan Society of Infectious Diseases.  

The lack of information is worrying … there is nothing more counterproductive for a vaccination program than the mistrust.”   

Dra. María G. López G., president of the Venezuelan Society of Infectious Diseases 

Many Venezuelans in the medical sector are also concerned about administering a vaccine that has yet to comply with certain parameters and development procedures “on a population in a state of malnutrition and with diseases of various kinds,” explains a commentator, Rafael Guevara-Manosalva 

Despite this, Maduro is adamant that universal immunisation will be rolled out at any cost “I hope that in April, more or less, to be already with the vaccine, vaccinating compatriots with special health needs, doctors, all health personnel, teachers and then all of Venezuela.”  

Is this feasible? According to a Venezuelan lawyer, this is more a political discourse than a solid programme, “This is propaganda with no solid basis. We don’t even know the viability of this vaccine let alone the logistics of vaccinating the entire country, that’s impossible to carry out in Venezuela.” 

This is propaganda with no solid basis. We don’t even know the viability of this vaccine let alone the logistics of vaccinating the entire country.”   

Venezuelan lawyer 

Venezuela has officially reported 94,800 coronavirus cases and about 826 deaths. According to an epidemiologist in Venezuela, the daily report of COVID-19 cases does correspond to what the National Hygiene Institute (INH) reports, however, the situation completely changes when reporting the number of deaths.  

“The death curve makes no sense. The logic they [the government] are following does not correspond to the epidemiological realityThey report that the cases increase but the deaths never change! Looking at data from 213 countries that have registered cases, the fatality rate has never been stable for months, as it has been in Venezuela since May, that is impossible,” explained José Félix Oletta, a Venezuelan epidemiologist and former Minister of health. 

As Maduro stabs in the dark, let’s hope that the Russian and Chinese vaccines hit their target!

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