Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said that 500,000 doses of China’s Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine had arrived in the South American country, along with protective material for medical personnel.
Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez received the shipment on Monday night, state media reported.
“The Chinese vaccine will reinforce the immunization process,” Maduro said on Twitter late on Monday.
He thanked Chinese President Xi Jinping for his “cooperation and solidarity” in donating the vaccine to Venezuela, which is experiencing a deep economic crisis that has left its healthcare system in a shambles.
Rodriguez said the vaccine doses and medical supplies would be used to inoculate doctors, nurses, teachers and security personnel.
Venezuela received the first 100,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine on Feb. 13. Venezuela, which has about 25 million people, has invested $200 million to buy 10 million doses of the Russian vaccine.
Maduro’s socialist government has close ties with Russia and China.
An adviser to opposition leader Juan Guaido, who is recognized by the United States and dozens of other countries as Venezuela’s legitimate president, said last week that the OPEC member nation could begin receiving coronavirus vaccines through the global COVAX program in May.
Venezuela has reported 139,545 COVID-19 infections and 1,348 deaths from the disease, according to official data. Opposition politicians and healthcare unions argue the scale of the outbreak has been under-reported because so little testing for the virus has been done.