CARACAS – Venezuelans are being denied appointments to receive their second coronavirus vaccine due to a shortage of doses, groups representing the South American country’s doctors and nurses warned on Monday.
Venezuela, with some 28 million people, has only fully vaccinated 0.8% of its total population, well below many of its peers in the region, according to Reuters data. He began his mass vaccination campaign at the end of May, prioritizing the elderly and health workers, amid long lines and confusion.
Now, some patients eligible for a second dose – recommended for three weeks after the first for the two vaccines given by Venezuela, Russia’s Sputnik V and China’s Sinopharm – are being turned away due to lack of supply despite appointments, according to Jamie Lorenzo, director of the defense group Doctors United for Venezuela.
“Before you start a vaccination process, you need to be sure of the vaccine supply so that once you start you don’t run out of it,” Lorenzo, a general surgeon overseeing the clinic, told reporters. bringing together some 4,000 health workers in the country.
Venezuela’s information ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The government of President Nicolas Maduro, which oversaw a deep economic crisis, blamed US sanctions for the country’s difficulties in procuring vaccines.
A second injection of either vaccine will still help boost immunity even if it is delayed for up to 90 days after the first, Lorenzo said. But denial of second doses to scheduled patients contributes to a feeling of “anarchy” at mass vaccination sites, he said.
Ana Rosario Contreras, president of the college of nurses in Caracas, called the vaccine supply situation “catastrophic” and called on Maduro to procure more doses.
Venezuela has officially reported some 260,740 coronavirus cases and 2,958 deaths, although many specialists believe the real numbers are higher.
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