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DEC. 24, 2020

President Piñera receives the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines: “They are a light of hope”

The Pfizer-BioNTech doses will be given to healthcare workers in the intensive care units of La Araucanía, Biobío, Magallanes and the Metropolitan Region.

The President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, received the first COVID-19 vaccines in Chile this Thursday, ready to begin the inoculation of the population.

“These vaccines are a ray of hope that will light up the road ahead,” said the President after overseeing the arrival of the first shipment in Group 10 of the Chilean Air Force, where he was joined by Health Minister Enrique Paris, Science Minister André Couve, Foreign Affairs Minister Andrés Allamand, and Minister of the Interior Rodrigo Delgado.

The first 10,000 doses will be given to healthcare workers in the intensive care units of La Araucanía, Biobío, Magallanes and a third of the Metropolitan Region.  

There is another shipment scheduled to arrive next week with an additional 10,000 doses, thereby completing the 20,000 vaccines announced by the Government. 

“Many people have worked long and hard to assure our fellow Chileans that we will have a safe, effective and timely vaccine,” explained the President. 

The vaccines left Puurs in Belgium on December 23, very early in the morning Chilean time. They had a technical layover before heading to their final destination in Santiago.

Chile currently has agreements and contracts that guarantee 10 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and another 10 million from Sinovac group. When added to the agreements with AstraZeneca-Oxford, Jensen–Johnsson & Johnsson and the Covax Alliance, there will be a total of 30 million doses. 

Last week, the President presented the Vaccination Plan. The order of priority for the vaccination process was established in conjunction with Chile’s Advisory Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (Comité Asesor en Vacunación e Inmunizaciones, CAVEI). 

In addition to starting with health workers in critical patient units, the program considers the following priorities, based on the risk levels of the different groups: The first priority is people deployed in the COVID-19 emergency. The second priority is senior citizens and people with chronic illnesses, with priority going to those in long-term residential care homes. And the third priority is other groups in the target population, based on their degree of risk.

In January, Chile will continue to receive new doses, which will be used to vaccinate the critical and high-risk population during the first quarter of 2021, moving on to the remaining groups during the first half of the year. 

“Please do not let your guard down or fall into a false sense of confidence. We must continue with personal hygiene practices. Everyone must take care of themselves while also caring for those around them. The vaccine is not just a personal protection mechanism, it is an act of solidarity because when people are vaccinated, they are not just protecting themselves, but also their loved ones, their community and the entire country,” concluded President Sebastián Piñera.

The goal is to protect the 15 million people who make up the target population.

The Health Ministry will give timely notice of the times and places for the vaccination of different population groups.