Trials of the Russian vaccine against COVID-19 have started in Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro announced on Wednesday.
"The Russian vaccine is already in Venezuela, tests have begun, there are already 2,000 volunteers", Maduro said.
The president said that a Chinese vaccine would also be delivered to the country. As soon as the trials of the two medications are completed and after approval by the World Health Organisation, vaccination of the entire population will begin. "I thought it would start in April... If earlier, it is better", Maduro said.
Earlier, media reported that the Venezuelan authorities were looking for volunteers to participate in tests of the vaccine. The government has been searching for 2,000 participants above the age of 18, with no tattoos on their arms and no exposure to respiratory diseases.
"When the vaccines are approved, we will produce them in Venezuela and we will vaccinate the entire population against the coronavirus", the president said.
Maduro also said that his son and sister would take part in clinical trials of the vaccine, he himself would be vaccinated at the start of mass vaccination. First of all, in Venezuela, workers in the healthcare system and the education system, as well as elderly people and those with chronic diseases, will be vaccinated.
Venezuela became the first country in the Western Hemisphere to participate in Phase 3 clinical trials of Russia's Sputnik-V.