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Science Minister Andres Cove said in an interview that Chile has become one of the most vaccinated countries in the world in combating the spread of the coronavirus epidemic after being among the best affected countries.
More than 25 percent of the population of 19 million people received at least one dose of the vaccine, making it the fourth largest dose in the world after Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Britain. It occupies a leading position in Latin America.
The minister believes that the reason for this is that they started negotiating shipments with vaccine companies too early, and also because they had a lot of experience from previous mass vaccinations. In the first months of the epidemic, the news was still full of the government’s inability to isolate the infected, monitor the spread of the epidemic, and the intensive care units in hospitals were almost full.
Science Minister Andres Cove said that already a month after the pandemic was declared, in April of last year, formal negotiations had begun with potential vaccine manufacturers about shipments. In May, experts presented a plan to President Sebastian Pinera on how to proceed once a vaccine becomes available.
The recommendations also called for Chile to participate in clinical trials. In June, an agreement was reached with the Chinese company Sinovac to make Chile one of the first countries to receive the vaccine, once it is approved. Similar negotiations have taken place with AstraZeneca, Janssen and another Chinese pharmaceutical company, CanSino, among others.
The first, albeit smaller, dose of the vaccine came from Pfizer in December and was given to medical staff. By the end of January, 4 million doses of the Chinese Sinovac vaccine were already available for mass preventive vaccination, which began in February and is still ongoing. He has a valid contract to deliver an additional 35 million doses of the vaccine.