Mass vaccination against COVID-19 started in Venezuela on Saturday, May 29, with the goal of implementing 22 million doses nationwide, starting from now until December this year, and thus achieving herd immunity.
This was confirmed by Venezuelan Minister for Health, Carlos Alvarado, in an interview given to Venezolana de Televisión (VTV). In the interview Alvarado detailed step by step details of how the vaccination process will be carried out.
He stated that the COVID-19 vaccination program began with healthcare personnel working in the public and private health sector; then the educational sector was incorporated, and now senior citizens and those suffering from chronic diseases are also within prioritized groups.
”We plan to vaccinate 70% of the Venezuelan population by December, as more vaccines continue to arrive in the country,” said Alvarado.
Additionally, the health minister mentioned that the US government-imposed blockade makes it difficult for Venezuela to acquire vaccines, but stressed that the government of Venezuela is working to guarantee more and more doses for the people of the country.
When and where to get vaccinated
Minister Alvarado explained that, starting from the first day of mass vaccination, 27 immunization points will be operational, each with a capacity to serve between 600 and a thousand people per day. In this way, it is estimated to meet the monthly goal of vaccinating three million people.
“People who will be vaccinated are already on a list,” the senior official explained. ”Our immunization points are not open spaces where anyone can go and get vaccinated because this would generate huge chaos.” For that reason, Alvarado stated that the Health Ministry will work with the 21 million people registered in the Patria System.
Alvarado explained that instructions will be uploaded in the portal of the Patria System, calling 600 people over the age of 60 with two diagnosed diseases to visit a specific vaccination center at specified hours on a particular day. The online platform will send a message to those who are eligible to visit the center.
The health minister added that this will be a random process of progressive selection by which the rest of the social groups chosen by age, health condition and characteristics of their work, according to their trade or profession, will be incorporated into prioritized sectors.
In the initial stage of the mass vaccination process, the prioritized sectors will contain the indigenous population, as well as communication workers, the staff of water and electricity sectors and groups engaged in spaces and tasks that are more exposed to COVID-19 contagion, mentioned Alvarado.
What about people who are not registered in the Patria System?
Health Minister Alvarado reiterated that the Patria System is a national registry that does not belong to any particular political party or group. He invited everyone to join the platform.
However, for people who are not registered in Patria, he added that the web portal of the Ministry of Health will open the possibility for them also to have access to the registry, through which they will be able to enter the same random rotation for the vaccination process. The required data for the registry will be name, surname, identity card, age, email, and to state if they suffer any associated disease.
”It is a random process of progressive selection according to risk groups,” Alvarado remarked. ”We have to complete the vaccination of people in the over-60 age group, then move to those under 60 who suffer from two or more serious illnesses—these are also among prioritized groups for the first stage.”
The minister requested the people of the country to have patience and be confident that more vaccines will arrive, so that 70% of the Venezuelan population can be immunized. ”We are going to vaccinate everyone, but there are some who have a higher risk and greater exposure, therefore we will vaccinate those people first,” he concluded.
Featured Image: Mass vaccination against COVID-19 has started in Venezuela. File photo.
(RedRadioVe) by José Manuel Blanco Díaz
Translation: Orinoco Tribune