CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela has signed a contract with Russia to acquire enough of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine to inoculate 10 million people in a first phase, Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said on Tuesday.
Venezuela began administering the vaccine to about 2,000 people in October as part of a clinical trial. The once-prosperous OPEC nation is suffering a severe economic crisis marked by a weak health system and deterioration of basic services such as electricity and running water.
“This is a safe vaccine, it is a step forward,” Rodriguez said on state television, accompanied by Moscow’s ambassador to Caracas, Sergei Melik-Bagdasarov.
The announcement comes as Argentina began to vaccinate its citizens against COVID-19 using 300,000 doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine delivered last week.
Venezuela, with a population of more than 25 million, has recorded some 112,636 coronavirus cases and 1,018 deaths from the virus, according to official statistics.
(Reporting by Mayela Armas in Caracas; Writing by Luc Cohen, Editing by Angus MacSwan)