Colombia advanced the start of the immunization campaign against the coronavirus for February 17, three days ahead of schedule, after receiving a first batch of 50,000 vaccines this Monday.
“Today is a very special day for our country (…) the vaccination process will begin the day after tomorrow,” the president announced Ivan duque on your everyday TV show.
The shipment, with the doses developed by the American laboratory Pfizer and german BioNTech, came to Bogota on a flight from Belgium, according to the earlier president from El Dorado international airport.
With this shipment, the country hopes to launch its vaccination program that, in the first month, will reach more than “one million Colombians,” according to Duke. In the following weeks, 1.6 million vaccines will be distributed according to the official schedule that previously started on February 20.
The first to get vaccinated on Wednesday will be health sector workers in the Caribbean municipalities of Sincelejo and Montería, in the northwest of Colombia. On Thursday the main cities such as Bogota, Medellín (northwest) and Cali (southwest). Later, the rest of the country on a schedule that ends on February 23.
The government hopes to distribute the first batch of vaccines “equitably” in all the country’s departments, according to the number of inhabitants and among the most vulnerable people.
The distribution will be made “not by urban areas, not by capitals, but by the entire country,” emphasized the Minister of Health, Fernando Ruiz.
The plan drawn up by the government foresees that the first to be immunized will be people over 80 years of age and those working in the health sector, starting with doctors and nurses.
“Vaccination (is) a hope, a joy, a joy, a satisfaction after so much suffering,” said the nurse at the Sincelejo hospital, Verónica Machado, the first person to be immunized in the country, according to Ivan duque.
The president decided to vaccinate 35.7 million people this year thanks to the confidential agreements he signed with pharmaceutical companies SinoVac, AstraZeneca y Johnson & Johnson, as well as its link to the multilateral mechanism Covax, which guarantees rapid and equitable access to vaccines in the world.
The number of potential beneficiaries is equivalent to 70% of the total population of 50 million people, thus Colombia would reach herd immunity from the coronavirus.
Since the detection of the first case, on March 6, 2020, the country registers almost 2.2 million infections and more than 57,000 deaths from COVID-19.
These figures place Colombia in fourth place in Latin America and the Caribbean in terms of number of affected and deceased in relation to its number of inhabitants.
At least 95 countries or territories have started the vaccination process.