Rapidity of Phase II of Mass Vaccination in Venezuela Stands Out

Venezuelans who have been contacted by the Patria System, an online state platform in which more than 20 million Venezuelans are registered, to receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine have remarked on the speed of the immunization process, according to Últimas Noticias.

”They took good care of us since we arrived, the process was fast,” said Milagros Ríos, 62, after receiving a dose of the vaccine this Wednesday at the point set up in the Hotel Alba Caracas, one of the several designated vaccination points for the second phase of the mass vaccination process. This phase includes senior citizens, and those people who suffer from two or more chronic ailments, as these groups are more susceptible to greater serious effects of the viral disease.

”There are many people who need to be vaccinated,” added Ríos. ”It seems good to me that this process is being carried out throughout the country, and hopefully it can also be taken to people’s homes.”

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Ama María Mansón, for her part, called on her fellow citizens to go to the vaccination centers once they are contacted by the Patria System. Venezuelans who have registered to be vaccinated should receive an SMS with the instructions for the procedure.

María Melano, of 81 years, described the work of the health personnel and the security personnel at the vaccination center in the capital’s hotel as magnificent.

For the second phase of the mass vaccination process, which began on May 29, 1.3 million doses have already been applied nationwide. Moreover, 500 thousand doses of a new Sputnik-V shipment received during the weekend are being added to this reserve, and 10 million more doses are arriving soon through the United Nations COVAX mechanism.

On Tuesday, the mayor of Caracas, Erika Farías, wrote on her twitter account, “There are already more than six thousand people vaccinated at the three vaccination points in Caracas, and in the next few hours we will be opening 10 more points for the immunization of our people. June is also for the fight for life!”

The Minister for Health, Carlos Alvarado, previously reported that all senior citizens in Venezuela will be vaccinated, totaling about 4 million, who will be given the Russian Sputnik-V vaccine.

”We have planned to vaccinate 70% of the population between now and December, as the vaccines arrive, we hope to create herd immunity,” said Alvarado, adding that 77 health centers have been enabled in the country to guarantee immunization against COVID-19.

It is estimated that 70% of the Venezuelan population should be immunized to check the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

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Complaints of long lines
Many people have questioned the small number of vaccination centers in Caracas, and even President Maduro has pushed for more locations to be opened in order to achieve the goal of vaccinating at least 70% of the population by the end of August. However, Alvarado, minister for health, is of the opinion that this goal could be reached by December.

The fact remains that although many are feeling relieved now that mass vaccination of ordinary Venezuelans is being carried out, the speed of the procedure, 2,000 people in Caracas per day, is not a good sign as Caracas (Capital District) has a population close to 4 million, and at the current speed, 2 thousand days (more than 3 years) will be required to vaccinate the entire population of the capital.

La Iguana TV visited Alba Caracas Hotel and reported that the process is being carried out in an ordered and organized manner, but the outlet also reported very long and unnecessary lines that do not make sense if the organizers are using high end technology of the Patria System to advance the vaccination process.

In Venezuela, standing in long lines has become part of the daily life of millions of Venezuelans since 2012-2013, especially with the economic crisis caused by the distortions in Venezuelan economy during the last years of President Chávez’s tenure. Currently one sees only a fraction of the lines one could notice during the crisis period of 2013-2017, but still there are many people who do not realize the importance of doing things without waiting in lines for hours, as shown by the images of La Iguana TV.

The blockade imposed by the US and European governments has made it very hard for Venezuela to access all the necessary medical equipment and vaccines. Still, against all odds, and showing a commitment to resolve the situation, President Maduro’s administration has already reached the point of launching mass vaccination, despite all the logistic difficulties that each dose requires in terms refrigeration and transport. Now Venezuelans need better planning to deal with the complexities of mass vaccination, and also a dose of tranquility and good living that everyone who lives in Venezuela deserves.

 

Featured image: A senior Venezuelan woman being vaccinated in Caracas during the second phase of the mass vaccination plan. Photo courtesy of Últimas Noticias.

(Últimas Noticias) with Orinoco Tribune content

Translation: Orinoco Tribune

OT/JRE/SC

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