As the coronavirus pandemic is raging in Venezuela, Alida De Guidi, 76, said she woke up at dawn and waited in line in Caracas for a vaccine against COVID-19.
In the country with the world’s largest oil reserves, families have sent their strongest to stand in long lines to get food, medication, fuel, cash, and in some areas water. Getting a COVID vaccine shot for people age 65 and older is not any different. Social distancing is impossible.
De Guidi said a government employee added her name to a waiting list. She never heard back from anyone, so she returned to the site to talk to the soldiers guarding the line.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s socialist government accepted vaccines from Cuba, one of the last communist countries in the world.
Some Venezuelans will have to line up for shots three times. BioCubaFarma’s Abdala, or CIGB-66, a three-shot vaccine, proved to be 92.28% effective against coronavirus infection during last-stage clinical trials, Cuban officials say.
Maduro’s administration protested a bank blocked a partial payment to the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, or COVAX.
Venezuela’s socialist leadership has gotten in the habit of blaming all of the country’s difficulties on the United States’ sanctions. In 2019, former President Donald Trump recognized Juan Guaido as the leader of Venezuela.
Anecdotes about people arriving at vaccination sites attempting to pay bribes abound.
Torres contributed to this report from Miami.