Bolivia's Vice President David Choquehuanca finally agreed to get vaccinated against COVID-19 despite ratifying that taking the jab in voluntary in Bolivia and that he has already overcome the disease.
I have acquired natural immunity, but since we have a decree now, I am respectful of the rules, and all Bolivians have to comply with the rules, I'm going to get vaccinated in the next few days, but I have immunity, Choquehuanca said in a TV interview.
Since Jan. 1, a vaccination card or a negative PCR test for COVID-19 are required to enter public buildings and other indoor spaces in a move to curb the sp`read of the virus.
President Luis Arce and other officials were vaccinated in public events to encourage the population, but to receive immunization, but Choquehuanca had refused to, thus prompting all sorts of reactions from political opponents but also from within his own ruling Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) ruling party.
Choquehuanca, of indigenous Aymara ancestry, explained he had contracted COVID-19 on two occasions and that he had recovered twice by resorting to naturopathic medicine. “I have passed the coronavirus the first time and I have overcome it with ancestral medicine. Then it hit me again and I got over it with natural medicine, he said in a radio interview.
There are two ways to acquire immunity: naturally and artificially (vaccines), and I have acquired natural immunity, he said. Choquehuanca also explained he had consumed turmeric, ginger, onion, garlic, honey in mixtures to drink in the morning, as well as honey with lemon. He also admitted to having chewed coca leaves, an ancient practice in Bolivia, mainly among Aymara and Quechua peasants.
Bolivia is said to be going through its fourth coronavirus wave. Last Wednesday 6,149 infections were reported in one day. The country has recorded around 591,770 cases and 19,650 deaths out of apopulation of 11.5 million. Vaccination has been resisted nationwide among indigenous peoples who preferred natural infusions.
Nevertheless, Health Minister Jeyson Auza insisted that since the vaccination card will be required in most aspectects of everyday's life as of the age of 5, people should better take their shots. “If I want to exercise my right not to be vaccinated, I must also fulfill my duty to guarantee that I am not a carrier of the coronavirus or a new variant that could affect the right of the community, the minister argued.
Auza also said no cases of the Omicron variant had been detected, but he acknowledged he was aware it could reach his country any minute, since it has already entered Latin America.