The World Bank highlights Chile’s COVID-19 immunization campaign
The organization emphasized the Chilean Government´s proactive and robust management of its campaign, the fastest in Latin America and one of the quickest in the world.
The World Bank has highlighted Chile’s COVID-19 immunization campaign. “Their team has managed to work in a proactive, robust, well-coordinated manner,” said Dr. Amparo Elena Gordillo-Tobar, senior health economist at the World Bank Group. She was speaking at a webinar looking at the speed and impact of Chile’s COVID-19 vaccination program entitled Rápidos y Determinados: Implementación e impacto del programa de vacunación COVID-19 de Chile. Health Minister Enrique Paris and International Economic Relations Undersecretary Rodrigo Yáñez both spoke at the webinar, which was organized by the World Bank.
Dr. Gordillo-Tobar stressed that “Chile's vaccination program has been by far the fastest in Latin America and one of the quickest in the world.” The experience shows that “it is not possible to simply respond to an epidemic at the last moment - one needs to have prepared for it for many years beforehand.”
In the same vein, Virginia Brandon, resident representative of the World Bank in Chile, explained that “Chile has currently made the greatest progress with COVID-19 vaccination coverage in Latin America and the Caribbean, reaching 54.01% of the population with the first dose, very close to figures in the United States and far superior to the 12% average in South America.”
Ms. Brandon stressed that “the COVID-19 Vaccine Introduction Readiness Assessment Tool, applied by the Pan American Health Organization during 2020, assessed Latin American countries in 10 areas, with Chile achieving 100% in nine of them, positioning it as the best-prepared country in Latin America.”
In this regard, Health Minister Enrique Paris explained that the pillars of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout have been “negotiating the purchase of vaccines early on, technical advice from the Advisory Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (Comité Asesor en Vacunación e Inmunizaciones, CAVEI) and other organizations, logistics, inter-ministerial coordination and planning involving the participation of the Science, Health and Foreign Affairs Ministries and the Healthcare Network and Primary Healthcare institutions, boosting human resources and the cold chain infrastructure, having a culture that is favorable to vaccinations and experience from the National Immunization Plan.”
On this last point, Minister Paris added that “our plan is robust because in Chile we have a tradition of the State of Chile, rather than Government administrations, setting the criteria for healthcare. We have to gather together all the good things that have been done in the past and use them in planning for the future.”
Meanwhile, International Economic Relations Undersecretary Rodrigo Yáñez explained that the contracts that have been signed for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines show that “from early on we tried to anticipate the circumstances that might arise later, in terms of import restrictions, protectionism and geopolitical issues related to the vaccines.”
He explained that this is why Chile’s trade policy was able to assist during the crisis, as “Chile is a country that is open and connected with the world. We have a network of 30 Free Trade Agreements with different parts of the world, making it a very powerful network that is an asset for the country. It also comprises a virtuous circle of contacts and networks that our missions and embassies around the world activated in order to get direct contact with manufacturers and regulators.”
During the course of the webinar, Virginia Brandon announced that over the next few months the World Bank will be providing technical assistance to the Health Ministry to review the experience of the National Immunization Program. The objective will be to provide guidance for future policies and offer recommendations for continuing and improving the implementation of successful and equitable vaccination processes.