First COVAX shipment of COVID-19 vaccines arrives in Venezuela

COVAX Venezuela

Caracas, September 7, 2021 (PAHO/WHO) – A shipment of 693,600 doses of COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Venezuela today. The vaccines, purchased using Venezuela’s own resources, were procured through the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Revolving Fund – the procurement agent for COVAX for the Region of the Americas.

This shipment is the first of a total of 12,068,000 doses that the country will receive via the COVAX mechanism.

The delivery took place in the early hours of September 7 at the Simon Bolivar International Airport and was welcomed by authorities from the Ministry of Popular Power for Health (MPPS) and PAHO. The vaccines are currently being stored ahead of distribution.

This was the first of several deliveries that will be made to cover approximately 20% of the country’s total population. This will include priority groups as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO).

PAHO, UNICEF and other partners have also provided support to the MPPS to plan for vaccine roll-out, including defining priority populations and vaccination strategies, as well as logistical aspects of vaccine deployment.

Venezuelan resources have also been utilized to maintain the cold chain and ensure that vaccines are stored correctly in regional and national refrigeration warehouses and transported to local vaccination points. These resources have also been utilized to procure syringes and other supplies, including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for personnel involved in vaccination activities.

PAHO is also providing support to the country to train vaccinators in hard-to-reach communities, to strengthen information and communication systems, to implement a surveillance system for post-vaccination events, to design monitoring plans, and in risk communication.

The first COVID-19 vaccines delivered in Venezuela under COVAX were produced by the Sinovac Biotech laboratory and are included on the WHO Emergency Use Listing. This means that the vaccines have been evaluated for quality and safety, and meet international standards for safety, efficacy, and manufacturing.