19:14 GMT01 December 2020
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    Former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya (2006-2009) was among the first to receive one of the 2,000 doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine sent to Venezuela. Back in his country, he spoke to Sputnik and praised Russia’s scientific and political activity amid the pandemic.

    The Russian authorities have sent 2,000 doses of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine to Venezuela. Former President of Honduras Manuel Zelaya (2006-2009) was one of the first volunteers to receive it.

    The former president was a participant in the third phase of the vaccine's clinical trials in Latin America, which are also taking place in India and Russia. 

    A few days after receiving the vaccine on 19 October, Zelaya said he was "feeling great". On-air on the Telescopio programme, he spoke in detail about his impressions of the Russian vaccine.

    "The side effects are really minor. I felt a little sleepy for two or three hours. I was drowsy; I also felt heaviness in my body, but it was quite mild and went away quickly", the former president said. Four days after being vaccinated, he said he was fine and that he "felt absolutely nothing", describing his vaccination experience as positive.
    Honduran former president (2006-2009) and current coordinator of the Libertad y Refundacion (LIBRE) opposition party, Manuel Zelaya, answers questions from the press outside the Public Ministry building in Tegucigalpa, on February 3, 2020
    © AFP 2020 / ORLANDO SIERRA
    Honduran former president (2006-2009) and current coordinator of the Libertad y Refundacion (LIBRE) opposition party, Manuel Zelaya, answers questions from the press outside the Public Ministry building in Tegucigalpa, on February 3, 2020

    Zelaya also highlighted Russia's scientific and political activity. In his opinion, it was no coincidence that samples of the Russian vaccine were sent to Venezuela. This was what motivated him to "write to Nicolas Maduro, [the president of Venezuela], to be the first of 2,000 Latin Americans to receive the vaccine".

    "It's a matter of service, cooperation and human solidarity. Russia, a country with such scientists, has sent 2,000 doses of the vaccine to Latin America in an unprecedented gesture of goodwill, through Venezuela, where the Bolivarian Revolution is taking place. This is something that we should appreciate”, Zelaya said.

    He believes that "it motivates many brave people fighting around the world, but especially in Venezuela".

    Moreover, the former Honduran president highlighted Russia's solidarity with Nicaragua, Cuba, and Venezuela, saying that in the 21st century, a "just cause" appeared, which "generated a wave of social upheavals in Latin America. A decade was won, but then the Washington 'hawks' came in; today, we feel the response from the people. That is what Russia's solidarity with Nicaragua, Cuba, and Venezuela is all about".

    On 15 October, Nicolas Maduro said that as soon as the vaccine's clinical trials were over, "mass vaccination would start when it's authorised by the WHO and POP", which would mark the start of the fourth and final phase.

    In this handout photo taken on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, and provided by Russian Direct Investment Fund, a new vaccine is on display at the Nikolai Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow, Russia
    © AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr
    In this handout photo taken on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, and provided by Russian Direct Investment Fund, a new vaccine is on display at the Nikolai Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow, Russia

    A number of Latin American states rely on the vaccine developed by Russian scientists. Ecuador’s Minister of Health Juan Carlos Zevallos said that "significant efforts are being made to start vaccination as soon as possible", adding that his country's government was engaged in dialogue with its Russian counterparts.

    In turn, countries such as Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Argentina, Paraguay and another 50 states are showing interest in the Russian Areplivir COVID-19 drug. This is what Andrey Mladentsev, CEO of the Promomed Group pharmaceutical company, said.

    Tags:
    Russia, Latin America, Latin America, Sputnik V, Honduras, Honduras
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