Venezuela’s Maduro receives first dose of Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine

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CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and first lady Cilia Flores have received their first dose of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, Venezuelan state television reported on Saturday.

Images of both Maduro and Flores receiving their doses were broadcast on state television. Maduro said he felt “fine” after receiving the injection.

“Across the world the studies say that the Russian vaccine is a great vaccine to generate immunity,” Maduro said. “We will guarantee all vaccines for the people of Venezuela.”

Venezuela received the first 100,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine on Feb. 13. The South American country, home to some 25 million people, has invested $200 million to buy 10 million doses of the Russian vaccine.

Handout photo made available by Miraflores press shows the President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro (L) while he is vaccinated against the coronavirus in Caracas, Venezuela, 06 March 2021. Maduro and his wife Cilia Flores received the first dose of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine against Covid-19. EPA-EFE/Miraflores Press H

The crisis-stricken OPEC nation also received 500,000 doses of China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine earlier this week.

Venezuela has reported 141,356 cases of the novel coronavirus and 1,371 deaths, well below levels of its South American peers. Many opposition politicians and medical personnel question those statistics, arguing the true toll is likely far higher due to a lack of testing.

(Reporting by Deisy Buitrago and Corina Pons; Writing by Luc Cohen; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Diane Craft)

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