VENEZUELA / CUBA, (TeleSUR) – On Sunday, Venezuela received a shipment of one million Cuban Sovereign Plus vaccines, which will be applied to its population as part of the COVID-19 immunization campaign.
“Developed by the Finlay Vaccine Institute (IFV), the Sovereign Plus vaccine reinforces the number of antibodies in patients previously exposed to the virus or people immunized with other vaccines,” health minister Carlos Alvarado recalled and thanked the Cuban authorities for the shipment.
So far, over 20 million doses of Abdala, Sovereign 02, and Sovereign Plus vaccines have arrived in Venezuela thanks to cooperation agreements signed with Cuba.
Last year, Iran and Vietnam acquired over six million Abdala and Sovereign 02 vaccines, and Mexico and St Vincent and the Grenadines recently authorized the emergency use of the former.
The World Health Organization (WHO), however, has not yet qualified these vaccines as suitable products to treat coronavirus patients, a policy that has prevented Cuba from exporting its vaccines to Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) member countries.
“Since last year, we started the necessary procedures to obtain the WHO approval for the Abdala vaccine. Recently, we begin such process with the Sovereign 02 and Sovereign Plus,” the IFV Director Vicente Verez stated.
“This process will be long, complex, and costly, but we hope that it is fruitful given that the laboratories that develop Cuban vaccines possess first-level data of and have nothing to envy to the clinical trials conducted by any multinational,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, in more expressions of solidarity, Argentina donated COVID-19 vaccines to 12 countries. On Sunday, president Alberto Fernandez’s administration reported that Argentina has donated over four million AstraZeneca vaccines to 12 developing countries since November.
Currently, the AstraZeneca vaccine is produced in Buenos Aires by the mAbxcience laboratory. Mexico also collaborates with packing the vaccines.
So far, the countries that have benefited most from the Argentine cooperation have been Bolivia and Egypt, each of which has received one million COVID-19 vaccines. The Fernandez administration has also shipped AstraZeneca vaccines to Vietnam, the Philippines, Kenya, Mozambique, Angola, Barbados, Grenada, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Dominica.
Most of the batches of donated vaccines were close to their expiry date, so the quantity agreed by each nation depended on its implementation capacity.
“Countries with higher vaccination coverage need to work together to reduce inequalities in access to health and thus avoid new variants,” presidential adviser Cecilia Nicolini tweeted on the occasion of the donation to Egypt.
On Sunday, Argentina registered 21,570 new COVID-19 cases and 152 related deaths. Since the pandemic began, this South American country has recorded over 8.3 million COVID-19 cases, 120,988 of which resulted in deaths.
Health authorities are facing the pandemic in relatively better conditions than those existing two years ago. Currently, the percentage of bed occupancy in intensive care units (ICUs) for all types of pathologies is only 49.6 percent at the national level.