1st Covid-19 Vaccinations Here Start February 20; 35 Million People Covered by End-2021
Colombia Health Minister Fernando Ruiz announced last night (January 29) that the first 337,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine will be administered starting February 20.
Thanks to recent purchase deals, “Colombia has secured the 35 million vaccines necessary to immunize 70% of its population against Covid-19, with which we will achieve herd immunity,” according to the Ministry.
“We have managed to buy 20 million doses for 10 million Colombians through Covax, and through bilateral [purchase] mechanisms another 41.5 million doses for 25.25 million people. In this way we reached 61.5 million doses for 35.25 million people to be vaccinated,” Minister Ruiz revealed.
Total government spending for vaccine acquisition now totals COP$2 trillion (US$560 million), he aded.
The “National Vaccination Plan” (PNV in Spanish initials) now includes the following vaccines:
Pfizer: 10 million doses purchased for 5 million people (two shots per person), using the “messenger RNA” chemistry. “This vaccine differs from the traditional ones because it does not incorporate live or attenuated virus agents, or fragments of it,” explained Ruiz.
AstraZeneca: 10 million doses for 5 million people, similarly a “non-replicating viral vector vaccine that must be applied in two doses.”
Janssen (Johnson & Johnson): 9 million doses for 9 million people, as a “single-dose vaccine that is easy to take to dispersed areas” since it doesn’t require ultra-cold refrigeration.
Moderna: 10 million doses for 5 million people, “a new technology vaccine also of messenger RNA that requires deep freezing,” he said.
Sinovac: 2.5 million doses for 1.25 million people. “It is an inactivated, two-dose vaccine that can be stored in standard refrigeration at 2°C to 8°C,” according to the Ministry.
All these vaccines “have shown efficacy, all exceed the minimum standard required by the WHO [World Health Organization] for vaccination processes and allow us a diverse portfolio of maneuverability in the event of any eventuality,” Ruiz said.
Updated Vaccination Rollout Schedule
Thanks to the recent acquisitions and updated delivery schedules, the following dose schedule is now foreseen starting February 20, 2021:
February: 337,000 doses
As a result, “Colombia has the possibility of completing 100% of targeted vaccinations in 2021,” rather than an earlier estimate of 2022, he said. “Bear in mind that 35 million people represent almost the entire population over 16 years of age in Colombia,” he added.
“This is the opportunity for the country to unite, regardless of any divergence, towards a safe and effective vaccination process, because that is the basis for our country’s ability to turn the page on Covid-19” — enabling both public health improvement as well as fuller economic recovery, he concluded.