Nicaragua is the third country in America with the highest percentage of vaccination against covid-19, according to figures from the Ministry of Health (Minsa), shared with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). However, the official statistics would be inflated with more than two million doses that the Minsa applied as reinforcements and “new schemes”, between November 2021 and June 2022, but did not report separately as the rest of the nations do.
According to official figures, until July 18, 2022, 83.26% of the Nicaraguan population would have completed their vaccination schedule. This percentage —which is only below Chile (91.5%) and Cuba (88.15%)— It would be the greatest success of the Minsa after the country was in the queue for vaccination in 2021 due to the shortage of vaccines. However, the data is questionable.
The Minsa assures that they have applied 11,545,480 doses, of these 5.9 million are first doses and 5.5 million are second or complete scheme. This accumulated dose would include the reinforcements and 2022 schemes that are being applied by decision of the regime.
According to the vice president and state spokesperson, Rosario Murillo, Until June, 30% of the population —equivalent to a little more than two million— was vaccinated again against covid-19 because they assure that the immunization will be done every year, which caused some Nicaraguans to have up to five doses applied in less than 12 months. This policy, which is not supported by medical evidence, is inflating official statistics.
Chile, which is at the top of vaccination, has applied 60.2 million doses, but of these, 25.1 million are boosters that were excluded when calculating the percentage of immunization in the country; the same happens with Cuba, which accumulates 27.5 million applied doses and of these 7.4 million are reinforcements; Peru adds 78.8 million doses used and of these 11.5 million are reinforcement; Argentina has applied 106.8 million vaccines, but of these 28.3 million are reinforcements.
Vaccination in Central America
According to vaccination statistics for Central America, Nicaragua is the country that leads immunizations, followed by Costa Rica (81.2%) and Panama (71.19%). These countries have also applied an additional 4.5 million booster doses.
El Salvador has vaccinated 66.9% of its population, equivalent to 4.3 million inhabitants, and has applied two million booster vaccinations. Honduras has 53.9% of its population fully immunized and has administered 2.9 million booster doses. Belize managed to immunize 53.7% of its inhabitants and applied 49,828 booster.
For its part, Guatemala, which has applied 18.1 million doses against covid-19, has only managed to vaccinate 34.9% of its population and has applied 3.4 million booster doses. This is the Central American country with the largest population: 18.2 million.
As of July 18, 2022, Nicaragua has 18.2 million doses available to apply to the population. 51.6% of these correspond to donations sent mainly through the Covax mechanism. During the first 15 days of July, the country has received 1.9 million Pfizer doses from Latvia, the European Union and the United States. With the approval of a loan of 116 million dollars, granted by the World Bank, the regime is expected to buy more vaccines to apply in 2023.
Impoverished populations, the most vulnerable
Despite the apparent success of the Minsa in the vaccination campaign, which it was even celebrated by the head of PAHO in NicaraguaAna Solis Ortega Treasure, The Ortega government keeps secret the details of those vaccinated by territory, gender or age.
The latest data on vaccination by departments was known through a crossing of figures revealed in the Health Map, covering until March 2022. These statistics were analyzed by CONFIDENTIAL and revealed that the population of the Caribbean Coast, the most impoverished in the country, had the lowest rates of immunization, mainly the North Caribbean.
The analysis showed that the population vaccinated with the complete schedule —two or three doses— varied between 21 and 45% in the North Caribbean, while in the rest of the country it already exceeded 60%. The municipalities with the longest delays in vaccination were Bilwi, Waspam and Prinzapolka, which had only 21% of their population vaccinated. The Minsa has not reported how much progress has been made from March to July 2022.
“The Caribbean has always been the most abandoned place in Nicaragua, the poorest and where there is little population; So, since vaccination began in Nicaragua, I have always argued that a priority should be the Caribbean, for a very simple reason, these people live in conditions of greater risk, so minorities in our country must be protected,” points out Dr. Leonel Argüello.
All the information from the Minsa related to the pandemic has been opaque and questioned by civil society organizations and by PAHO. journalistic investigations of CONFIDENTIAL have revealed that the authorities have hidden the impact of covid-19: hospitalizations, The deathsThe consequences, the variants.
During the vaccination it has been reported that, at the beginning —when the country suffered shortages—there was favoritism to supporters of the FSLNwas preferred the purchase of vaccines from its political allies: Cuba and Russia, despite the fact that they cost twice as much and were not authorized by the WHO; and also expired biologicals have been applied.