Maduro mulls giving Russian Covid-19 vaccine to over 14k candidates in Venezuela’s election to facilitate safe campaigning

As soon as Russia’s ‘Sputnik V’ coronavirus vaccine arrives in Venezuela for clinical trials, it may be used to immunize around 14,400 candidates in the upcoming parliamentary election, the country’s president said on Tuesday.

A batch of the world’s first registered Covid-19 vaccine will arrive in the Latin American nation later this month, Nicolas Maduro stated in a televised address. He said he intends to discuss with the national election regulator the possibility of using it to immunize the thousands of candidates running for seats in the Venezuelan National Assembly.

“It would be a good idea to give the Russian vaccine to the 14,400 candidates who have registered… so that they can carry out their electoral campaign more comfortably,” Maduro said.

The general election is scheduled for December 6, though some opposition parties are boycotting it.

The vaccine was registered in Russia last month before Phase III clinical trials. But Moscow says it is based on a well-tested platform, giving good reason to assume it’s safe.

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It is not yet clear if Venezuela will receive enough doses of Sputnik V to immunize all of the candidates. Maduro mentioned that other Covid-19 vaccines are on the way to Venezuela as well, without elaborating. The formal Phase III trial in Russia will involve 40,000 volunteers, but the official registration process means it can be legally administered to non-participants as well.

The Venezuelan leader earlier pledged to be the first person in the country to be injected with the Russian vaccine. He said that healthcare workers, the elderly, and vulnerable people would be among the first to receive it after him.

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