The findings of a second survey on vaccination coverage against the COVID-19 strain in Venezuela, which was conducted by three non-governmental organizations, were released. Shockingly, only 16% of the population had completed all three doses, and less than half had received both injections, according to the results.
The Humanitarian Social Observatory, or OSH, in collaboration with the Infectious Tropical Diseases Research Group (Gideti), and an organization named Doctors for Health revealed the findings of their investigations between end December, 2021, and beginning of May this year, during a press conference in all 24 Venezuelan states.
According to Julio Castro, a doctor and professor at the Central University of Venezuela’s branch – Institute of Tropical Medicine – although vaccine coverage may be lower than desired in certain demographic groups, such as young children up to 5 years old – reportedly owing to shortage – when compared against 74 percent of individuals who have had at least one dose, the numbers are contradictory.
He stated that the majority of those who have had a single shot are young, whereas the majority of those who have received all three doses are people over the age of 55.
Vaccination Centers under the Lens
According to a research published today, 44 percent of the established vaccination centers in Venezuela are inactive, a problem that Dr. María Graciela López, president of the Venezuelan Society of Infectology, believes has been growing by month. She emphasized that 49.70 percent of the vaccination centers are mobile clinics, whereas 13.39% are hospitals, putting healthy individuals who come for vaccinations at risk of infection.
According to López, just 63.47 percent of the facilities have access to immunization because they only operate four hours a day. It is difficult to access 21.9% of the centers due to transportation difficulties. Further, the survey of public services found that the reality at vaccination centers is similar to that of main hospitals and outpatient clinics, with problems with electricity affecting at least 26.13 percent and water scarcity affecting 33%.
Non-compliance with Social Distancing
According to Dr. Huniades Urbina, secretary of the National Academy of Medicine, in vaccination centers, lack of information is all too common. 45.05% of individuals are unaware of what to do if they experience side-effects after receiving the vaccine.
In addition, he was critical of the fact that in 77.87% of the analyzed facilities, no evaluation of these is conducted. He also stated that in 46.55% of the facilities, social distance is not observed. Majority of those who participate must line up standing upright and exposed in the open. Dr. Urbina stated, “35% of the visited establishments do not have medical personnel, which has an impact on public trust.”
Emphasis on Getting Vaccinated
Dr. Castro suggested that although vaccination goals are tough, it is ideal if at least 80% of the population is immunized. “We are in a period of low stability, according to official figures,” he said.
“Even though the official statistics reveal that we are on the decline, there is a social buzz of an increase in non-serious situations. Because people carry out the tests at home, those increasing instances do not appear in official statistics,” he cautioned. The only way to avoid infection, he said, is to follow the regulations we already know: avoiding physical contact, using a mask, washing your hands properly, and completing the vaccination cycle.