Víctor Manuel Muñoz, director of the Administrative Department of the Presidency, in dialogue with EL TIEMPO reiterated that by the end of March we will already have more than 3 million covid vaccines and that by that time progress will have been made in the vaccination of first-line health personnel, those over 80 years of age, and the epidemiological cordon in the Amazon will have been completed.
He said that this month, weekly, they will be receiving doses from the pharmacist Pfizer. He assured that the arrival of 2.3 million doses of the pharmaceutical company is expected Sinovac, 117,000 from Pfizer of the mechanism Covax and 244,000 of AstraZeneca by the same route.
The official stressed that decisive progress is being made to complete the million vaccinated Colombians before March 17.
How is the rate of vaccination going in Colombia?
The country is making good progress. From the beginning, the objective of the Government with the National Vaccination Plan is to immunize more than 35 million Colombians this year, which represents 70 percent of the population. By the end of March we will already have 3,461,000 doses in the country, which will allow us to advance as planned.
At the end of March, we will have 600,000 doses of Pfizer in the country through the bilateral mechanism, 2,500,000 doses of Sinovac, 117,000 doses of Pfizer and 244,000 of AstraZeneca through the Covax mechanism. This allows us to have a variety of pharmaceutical companies, minimizing dispatch and volume risks to advance the process continuously.
By the end of March, we will already have more than 3 million doses in the country and by that time we must have advanced in the vaccination of health personnel in the first line, those over 80 years of age and have completed the epidemiological cordon in the Amazon .
The vaccines are arriving and we are making progress in the process of distribution and application to all citizens.
How true is it, as some say, that the process is slow and that only 11 percent of the first stage has been vaccinated?
Colombia is making good progress. In the first 15 days of vaccination, about 200 doses were applied, and to date, this figure reaches more than 160,000 doses. The pace is incremental, we are guaranteed a continuous supply volume and before completing the first month we will have reached 1 million. It is important to mention that the vaccines have an allocation process in each of the regions, we are guaranteeing the logistics, that there is the team of vaccinators and the necessary elements for their application (cryogenics gloves, dry ice, syringes and diluents) . We are working so that the goals are met and to guarantee the sustainability of the National Vaccination Plan.
What about some departments that are slower than others on vaccination?
Something very important that must be taken into account within this National Plan is that there is a distribution and logistics process that in certain cities take longer. Of the 1,102 municipalities, there are 13 metropolitan areas, which can be supplied very quickly, mostly by air and short land routes, in many other places the logistics is more complex and we must take into account the distribution times. We have estimated a growing vaccination process, in order to meet the goals set
As has been said from the beginning, the National Vaccination Plan expects to immunize more than 35 million Colombians this year, representing 70% of the population. By the end of March, we will already have more than 3 million doses in the country and by that time we must have advanced in the vaccination of health personnel in the first line, those over 80 years of age and have completed the epidemiological cordon in the Amazon .
This month, weekly, doses will be received by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, as happened on March 3 with 100,000 doses, for a total of 500,000. It is estimated the arrival of 2.3 million doses from the pharmaceutical company Sinovac, 117,000 from Pfizer from the Covax mechanism and 244,000 from AstraZeneca from the Covax mechanism. We have a solid mass vaccination plan. The vaccines are arriving and we are making progress in the process of distribution and application to all citizens.
Why did only 34% of the expected vaccines arrive in February?
In February 100 percent of the expected vaccines arrived, in January the President of the Republic told Colombians that we would start vaccination on February 20 and that in the first month one million Colombians would be vaccinated. The February vaccination goal was met, and we even started vaccinating before the established date, starting on February 17. We are moving forward decisively to complete the million vaccinated Colombians before March 17, as announced.
The negotiation process was focused on being able to guarantee that the country received vaccines continuously, and thus guarantee the supply. Many countries gave their first vaccine and after a month they could not continue with the vaccination process due to lack of doses. This has not happened in Colombia because we guarantee that since the first batch of vaccines arrived, they would continue to arrive weekly and this has happened.
Doesn’t that affect the vaccination rate?
As I mentioned previously, what we seek from the Government is to guarantee that the goals of the Vaccination Plan are met and that there is sustainability to achieve the established goal of 70 percent of the immunized population. We have estimated a growing vaccination process, in order to meet the goals set.
How are we doing compared to other countries in the region?
It is important to note that 117,000 more doses of the Covax mechanism arrived in the country this week. This is Covax’s first vaccine delivery in all of the Americas and the second in the world. In this way, the National Vaccination Plan is fulfilled and guarantees are established for the sustainability of the vaccination process. We will close the month of March with 3.5 million doses in the country and in April we will finish it above 10 million doses. We have enough volume to evacuate stage 1, 2 and 3 before the end of the first half of the year. This is essential because we must maintain harmony between health and economics.
In the world in the first 15 days of vaccination since the first vaccine was given, we are in 22nd place. And only 21 countries have vaccinated more than a million people in the world, a figure that we will be in in the coming weeks.
When will the process be accelerated?
We have already purchased all the doses required to vaccinate 70 percent of the population, so the immunization plan is guaranteed.
As of March 3 at 4 pm we had that 57 percent of the vaccines assigned to territorial entities have already been applied, in the next few days we will jump from 25,000 or 30,000 average vaccines per day to levels of 65,000.
Every week we are working to improve the times, we are negotiating with pharmaceutical companies and transport teams because each day that we win will be essential to increase the deployments in the territory.
It is not only the process of acquiring vaccines but it also involves acquiring freezers, diluents, syringes and a whole process of logistics distribution in the country. Vaccinating involves having a plan with the elements, a group of vaccinators, and having a cold chain. It is a whole strategy designed by the National Government.
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What is the idea that private companies can sell the vaccine or that they can buy it to serve their sectors?
It has been contemplated that the private sector can join the National Vaccination Plan in phase 2, acquiring vaccines, once the immunization of the population at greatest risk, such as people over 60 years of age, with comorbidities and high exposure, is finished.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, dialogue with the private sector has been continuous, they have already filed a request to analyze the possibility of joining the Vaccination Plan. Progress must be made in the normative regulation and there are questions to be answered: what volume of vaccines they want to import, what cold chain do they have, which pharmaceutical company they are from, headquarters, vaccinators, syringes, legal protection and indemnity measures, and other elements that are required. . Vaccinating is much more than getting vaccinations.
On other issues, how is the economic reactivation going?
We have made progress in the process of safe economic reactivation and employment. This is how the measures adopted by the National Government in terms of protection of formal employment such as the PAEF, the lines of credit with a 90 percent guarantee, strategies such as the day without VAT and ‘Madrúguele a December’ had an effect on the economy of positive way.
In 2020, there was a 6.8 percent contraction of GDP compared to 2019. In 2021, the country’s growth prospects are at 5 percent, in line with the World Bank’s projections, for Colombia.
(What’s more: Pandemic has one in three Latin Americans in poverty)
We work every day on how to improve the arrival times of vaccines against #COVID19 to Colombia 🇨🇴 and thus increase the speed of vaccination
As of today we have already received 509,000 doses, as of March 31 we will have more than 3.4 million in the country pic.twitter.com/FTfP4wqnE6
— Victor Munoz (@Vicmunro) March 3, 2021
POLITICAL WRITING AND HEALTH