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Venezuelan authorities have asked their Colombian counterparts to coordinate joint measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Caracas's recommendation to open a direct channel to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic was rejected by Duque.
Colombian president, Iván Duque warned on Monday during an interview with a local radio station that Venezuelan migrants residing in Colombia will not be vaccinated against the Covid-19. The decision has generated widespread rejection.
"The priority will always be Colombian citizens because if not, Venezuelan migrants would arrive at the border to request the vaccine and they do not have the necessary means to guarantee it," Duque said.
However, he said there are exceptions, such as the case of "citizens with dual nationality" and those who are "regularized" and meet the conditions defined by the Colombian Ministry of Health. Otherwise, Duque insisted, "we would have a call to stampede, to have everyone cross the border asking to be vaccinated."
The Colombian government's decision would leave at least 55 percent of the 1.7 million Venezuelans living in Colombia, most of them undocumented, without vaccination against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Several experts and migrants have denounced the discriminative comments. Colombia's former Minister of Health Alejandro Gaviria said that "it is a bad idea from an epidemiological point of view."
Also, "it is above all an unethical proposal: it excludes the most vulnerable and discriminates in an almost threatening way against a group of people because of their nationality and immigration status," Gaviria added.
En Venezuela somos más de 5 millones de colombianos. A todos nos van a vacunar, al mismo tiempo que a los venezolanos y ciudadanos de todas las nacionalidades que viven en el país. Lo harán porque es lo correcto, porque es lo lógico. @ClaudiaLopez (HILO).
"In Venezuela, we are more than 5 million Colombians. We are all going to be vaccinated, as well as Venezuelans and citizens of all nationalities living in the country. They will do it because it is the right thing to do because it is the logical thing to do."
Colombian authorities have reported that the first batch of the Pfizer vaccine, of 1.7 million doses, will arrive in February 2021. The authorities have confirmed at least 1.5 million COVID-19 infections and more than 40,000 deaths thus far.
On the other hand, Venezuelan authorities have asked their Colombian counterparts to coordinate joint measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the proposals have not succeeded. Caracas's recommendation to open a direct channel to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic was rejected by Duque.
Nonetheless, at the ALBA TCP summit recently concluded, the President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro Moros, proposed the creation of a vaccine bank for the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) member countries.
The President highlighted that the region has the four vaccines currently being developed by Cuba, but also other options in the world and that the vaccination campaigns for the ALBA member countries should be funded entirely by the ALBA Bank.
Furthermore, Caracas has denounced that Colombian authorities exaggerate the numbers of Venezuelan migrants in order to access more funds from international organizations, such as the United Nations.
In order to support Venezuelans who migrated but, after encountering an adverse reality in other nations, are willing to return to Venezuela, the government of the Bolivarian country initiated in August 2018 the Plan Vuelta a la Patria (Return to the Homeland).