Venezuela will complete the coming week the total payment of 120 million dollars for 11.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines through the Covax system of the World Health Organization (WHO) for underprivileged countries , President Nicolas Maduro announced on Sunday.
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“Venezuela told the Covax system: Here is the money. Now, bring in the vaccines “, launched the head of state on public television, assuring that the total payment of” 120 million dollars to the Covax system “will be finalized during” the week which begins “(Monday).
On April 10, Vice-President Delcy Rodriguez announced that the country had contributed 64 of the $ 120 million planned.
Mr. Maduro, who promised the arrival of vaccines for June or July, specified that this payment had been made with “funds freed from the blockade […] without begging anyone, without believing in false and misleading right-wing announcements ”.
Power and opposition have been waging a war of declarations on the subject of vaccines for weeks.
The president thus alludes to remarks by opposition leader Juan Guaido, who announced in March that he had released frozen funds in the United States for the purchase of vaccines. Washington has entrusted Mr. Guaido with the management of Venezuelan funds frozen in the United States.
Mr. Guaido is considered the interim president of Venezuela by parts of the international community including the United States, which seeks to oust President 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 and there are no official figures on the number of vaccinated.
Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said in early April that Venezuela would have already received the vaccines without the sanctions. A statement described as a “lie” by Mr. Guaido.
The country of 30 million inhabitants has recorded nearly 185,000 cases, including more than 20,000 in March with the arrival of the Brazilian variant, deemed to be more contagious, for more than 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.
In addition, Venezuela will produce a Cuban anti-COVID vaccine, up to two million doses per month from August, President Maduro promised last week.