Maduro struggles to make his grand vaccine promise

A few weeks before Christmas, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro made a big announcement about his plans to tackle the coronavirus. His Vice President, Delcy Rodriguez, has just returned from Moscow with seasonal news of comfort and joy about the Russian Sputnik V vaccine.

“We guaranteed more than 10 million vaccines in the first quarter of next year,” Maduro assured the country. “Our goal is to get at least 10 million vaccines in January, February, March, April, or May.”

The reality has proven to be slightly different, as the Maduro government struggles to ensure sufficient doses to cover even the most vulnerable people.

There are no signs that Beijing or Moscow are giving preferential treatment to their socialist allies. Venezuela has received 380,000 of these Russian doses (only 3.8 percent of the president’s promise) and 500,000 Synofarm vaccines from China.

Vaccination accounts for only 1% of the population, the lowest rate in any South American country. At that rate, it will take more than 10 years to reach herd immunity.

“Neither Russia nor China provide the support Maduro wants during this difficult time, because they have other priorities,” said Dimitris Panturus, a political analyst in Caracas. “. “And again, Maduro simply doesn’t have the money to pay them. It’s a big problem for both Venezuela and Maduro. The country is becoming a secondary priority for Russians.”

Maduro He says he is in control of things. Last month, his government surprised many by saying that he spent $ 120 million on more than 11 million vaccine payments. Covax mechanismFounded by the World Health Organization and its partners, it helps poor countries access Covid drugs. That should be enough to vaccinate 20 percent of the population.

Maduro said he was “freed from the blockade,” but the underfunded government did not say where it found the money, and somehow the money that was previously under foreign sanctions was released from the source. It suggests that it was done. He said the source of the money would be revealed “at a good time”.

The announcement appeared to capture US-backed opposition. Juan GuaidóBe careful. It also promised to pay for the vaccine using money from a US Venezuelan bank account frozen under Washington sanctions.

Guaidó’s team had been discussing with the Maduro government on how to pay, import and properly store vaccines, but the discussion was stalled as Maduro said he would not accept AstraZeneca. Fear of blood clots..

Shortly thereafter, the government announced a one-sided payment for Covax, and negotiations failed.

“The government stole the opposition procession,” a Venezuelan political scientist told the . “It’s all about cognition, and the way the government dealt with this issue left the opposition in the cold.”

Guaidó seems determined to prevent the same thing from happening again.He has been since Approved release He will pay $ 100 million from a frozen bank account under his control in the United States for future vaccine payments.

in the meantime, Venezuelan health care workers We are increasingly frustrated by the lack of medication and the lack of a coherent vaccination plan.

“No one was vaccinated where I live and dozens of neighbors died in less than a month,” said Irma Madriz, who has worked for the Venezuelan public health system for 35 years. 62 years old) said.

“I want you to deliver the vaccine, but I want to deliver it to everyone,” she joined a small group of health workers and opposition politicians who protested in Caracas on April 17 demanding government action.

Ana Contreras, President of the Caracas School of Nursing, said: “It is very serious that frontline workers are not protected.”

Discussion continues Number of Venezuelans He was infected with a coronavirus and died.

The government has registered 192,000 cases, with 20,65 deaths out of 28 million inhabitants being almost unreliable. That’s 74 deaths per million, far less than in other major Latin American countries. In Brazil and Peru, this figure is over 1,800 per million.

Last year, New York-based NGO Human Rights Watch said the official Venezuelan Covid numbers were “absolutely ridiculous and unreliable.” The Institute for Health Metrics, a research center at the University of Washington, recently estimated the number of new Covid cases in Venezuela to be more than six times the official number.

Meanwhile, Maduro relies on two Cuban vaccines, Soberano-2 and Abdala, both in Phase 3 clinical trials and on the second Russian vaccine, EpiVacCorona.

In his pre-Christmas speech, the president said, “Venezuela intends to make a Russian vaccine. [Sputnik] Here in a laboratory in Venezuela. ” He has since vowed that his country will also manufacture Cuban vaccines.

“Needless to say, there are no signs that this is happening,” said political analyst Panturus.

Maduro struggles to make his grand vaccine promise

Source link Maduro struggles to make his grand vaccine promise

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