May 19, 2024
Health & Insurance.

As Colombia Nears 40 Million Covid-19 Vaccinations, INS Estimates 90% Mildly Infected over Past 18 Months

As of today (September 6), more than 36.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines so far have gone into the arms of Colombians — and that’s likely to hit more than 40 million by September 30, according to latest Health Ministry statistics and forecasts.

As of today (September 6), more than 36.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines so far have gone into the arms of Colombians — and that’s likely to hit more than 40 million by September 30, according to latest Health Ministry statistics and forecasts.

What’s more, 15 million Colombians have now been fully vaccinated, along with 21.5 million partly vaccinated– meaning that Colombia is moving ever-closer to its goal of getting its 35 million most-vulnerable populations protected against Covid-19 by the end of 2021.

Yet ironically, probably 90% of Colombians over the past 18 months have contracted at least one or another version of Covid-19 — although most had only mild symptoms or unrealized (asymptomatic) effects, according to a new study by Colombia’s Instituto Nacional de Salud (INS, the national health research institute).

Officially, Colombia has recorded more than 4.9 million documented cases of Covid-19, with 125,278 deaths and 4.75 million recoveries, according to latest Health Ministry statistics.

But of Colombia’s total 50 million people, most have never been tested for Covid-19, the INS study showed. Because of that, INS employed a math formula to extrapolate likely infection rates among populations in 12 main cities where Colombians actually did get tested.

According to INS Director Martha Ospina, this math calculation indicates that likely 89% of Colombians have had one or another type of Covid-19 variant in their bodies since testing started here 18 months ago, though most didn’t know it.

The “Mu” variant that now predominates in Colombia accounts for 53% of cases currently, she added.

With the more-dangerous Delta variant already here and likely to spread over the next few weeks, that means it’s even more important for Colombians — and visitors — to continue wearing masks, avoid crowds, regularly disinfect hands, keep safe distances and get vaccinated (if they still haven’t done that), she said.

In other words, it doesn’t matter if people have already been infected with some earlier, less-dangerous Covid variant. Unvaccinated people that luckily survived an earlier variant can’t be sure of protection against the latest variants — and what’s worse, they can become super-spreaders of Delta variant, sickening and killing many others.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Fernando Ruiz announced September 7 that Colombia now expects to receive 12.75 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines from five pharmaceutical companies during September.

Of those, 2.35 million will come from Pfizer; 1.1 million from AstraZeneca; 4 million from Moderna; 2 million from Janssen; and 3 million from Sinovac.

In total, 76 municipalities in Colombia have already fully vaccinated at least 50% of target populations, helping to stem the spread of infections, slash deaths and cut hospitalization rates. But one-third of the latest vaccination reports have yet to be filed electronically with the Ministry – meaning that the actual vaccination rate is likely higher than the reported rate.

So far, the Ministry has already distributed nearly 40 million vaccinations to hospitals, clinics and health networks in Colombia, including 2.1 million shots being handled by private-sector companies that are vaccinating their employees. That’s likely to rise to 50 million by month’s-end — and not a moment too soon, given the arrival of Delta variant.

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