Venezuela: health professionals in the street for vaccines

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Some 150 people, mostly health professionals, demonstrated in Caracas on Saturday to demand vaccines against the coronavirus as Venezuela is hit by a second deadly wave, AFP found on the spot.

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“Enough deaths!”, “SOS vaccines now!”, Could be read on the signs brandished by the demonstrators, who had received the support of the opposition.

“Venezuela is facing a pandemic, an invisible enemy, and it demands that lives be saved, it demands vaccines,” opposition leader Juan Guaido told reporters, who wore a mask on which was written ” Vaccines now! ”.

Mr. Guaido is considered the interim president of Venezuela by parts of the international community including the United States, which seeks to oust President Nicolas Maduro from power.

These countries do not recognize the legitimacy of Mr. Maduro’s 2018 re-election in a ballot boycotted by the opposition.

Venezuela launched a vaccination campaign at the end of February with the Russian Sputnik V and Chinese Sinopharm vaccines, but it has received less than a million doses. President Maduro had announced that health professionals would be the first beneficiaries of the vaccine but the college of doctors denounces delays.

The NGO Médecins unis assures that more than 480 health workers have died since the start of the pandemic.

The country of 30 million inhabitants has recorded more than 180,000 cases, including more than 20,000 in March with the arrival of the Brazilian variant, deemed to be more contagious, for nearly 1,900 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to the figures. official. These figures are considered “totally false” by the opposition. Hospitals are overwhelmed.

The government announced that it had paid just over half the amount required to purchase 11.3 million doses of vaccine through the Covax mechanism managed in particular by the World Health Organization (WHO). None of these vaccines have arrived yet.

In addition, Venezuela will produce a Cuban anti-COVID vaccine, up to two million doses per month from August, President Maduro promised last week.