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JULY 7, 2021

Chilean study on the effectiveness of the CoronaVac vaccine published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM)

  • The NEJM is one of the world’s most prestigious medical research journals. Its article selection process includes strict peer review procedures, which analyze the novelty, relevance and quality of the papers received. 

  • Doctor Rafael Araos is the researcher responsible for the Health Ministry study, alongside other academics and Health Ministry professionals. He is an advisor to the Public Health Undersecretary.

The abstract of the article published today in the renowned scientific journal The New England Journal of Medicine shows that many countries are carrying out mass vaccination campaigns to prevent illness as a result of Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) and its aftereffects. It also highlights the urgent need for vaccine effectiveness estimates in order to support decision making. 

The publication includes the conclusions of the Health Ministry’s “Effectiveness of the Inactivated CoronaVac SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine in Chile” study, led by Dr. Rafael Araos, advisor to the Health Ministry’s Public Health Undersecretary. The results were made public by the Health Ministry (MINSAL) last April 16, in an event headed by Health Minister Enrique Paris, Public Health Undersecretary Paula Daza, Healthcare Networks Undersecretary Alberto Dougnac and head of the National Immunization Program (PNI), Cecilia González. Two updates to the study have subsequently been presented and a new update will be given within the next two weeks. 

Dr. Araos said that “this study was made possible thanks to the large number of people vaccinated in Chile and the availability of data sources, which allowed for cross-referencing and advanced analysis of the real-life performance of the CoronaVac vaccine.” 

Dr. Araos further acknowledged the importance of this type of publication on vaccine use for the country and for the world, explaining that “it is always incredibly positive to publish in prestigious international scientific journals, because it concludes the scientific research process. This article is even more relevant, because it confirms the effectiveness of our country’s COVID-19 vaccination strategy.” 

  • The study comprised 10 million 200 thousand people, four million of whom were inoculated with the Sinovac vaccine between February 2 and May 1, 2021. 

  • The publication in The New England Journal of Medicine shows that the effectiveness of the CoronaVac vaccine on the fourteenth day after the second dose is 65.9% for preventing COVID-19 symptoms, 87.5% for preventing hospitalization, 90.3% for preventing ICU admissions and 86.3% for preventing death caused by COVID-19. 

  • Dr. Araos explained that the study established, “if we consider the 65.9% effectiveness rate in preventing COVID-19, there would only be 34 COVID-19 cases out of 100 if all of those people had been vaccinated. Furthermore, the 86.3% effectiveness rate in preventing death due to COVID-19 tells us that out of the 100 people who would have died from the illness, 13 would die if all had been vaccinated.”

  • Health Minister Dr. Enrique Paris expressed his satisfaction with the publication, stating “congratulations to Dr. Araos and all those who participated in the ‘Effectiveness of an Inactivated CoronaVac SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine in Chile’ study carried out by the Health Ministry. This article undoubtably reinforces the vaccination process carried out in our country and recognizes the effectiveness of the CoronaVac vaccine.” 

  • The co-authors of the study are Alejandro Jara, Ph.D., Eduardo A. Undurraga, Ph.D., Cecilia González, M.D., Fabio Paredes, M.Sc., Tomás Fontecilla, M.Sc., Gonzalo Jara, B.S.E., Francisco León, M.B.A., Carlos Sans, B.S.E., Paulina Leighton, B.S.E., Pamela Suárez, B.S.E. and Heriberto García-Escorza, M.S. 

  • Download the full publication here: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2107715?query=featured_home