RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Chile, one of the countries that vaccinate the fastest against Covid-19 in the world, started this Tuesday, June 22, the immunization process of minors between 12 and 17 years of age with the Pfizer injection, joining other countries in the region that did the same, such as Uruguay or the Dominican Republic.
“The goal is to vaccinate all adolescents and, when we have the appropriate vaccine, to inoculate children under 12 years of age as well. We all need protection against the coronavirus,” said President Sebastián Piñera.
In a first stage, he added, children between 12 and 17 years of age in juvenile centers, mental health care centers, and adolescents with comorbidities will receive the vaccine. Then mass immunization of this group will begin.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) gave the green light in May to the emergency application of the two-dose Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, with messenger RNA technology, for young people aged 12 to 15 years.
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To date, Chile has received almost 25 million vaccines, with the Sinovac vaccine being the most numerous (18 million), followed by Pfizer-BioNTech, with more than 5 million, AstraZeneca, with almost 900,000, and CanSino, with 575,000.
More than 9.3 million people have been inoculated with two doses, equivalent to 63% of the target population, making Chile one of the countries with the highest percentage of fully vaccinated population.
Despite having deployed one of the most successful immunization processes against Covid-19 in the world, the country has been experiencing for several weeks a wave of cases that have put the hospital system on the ropes and has raised ICU bed occupancy to 95 %.
“We still have about 2 million stragglers, people who could have been vaccinated and have not done so, and that means a risk to their health and everyone’s health. The vaccine is voluntary, but we all have a moral obligation,” Piñera added.
To prevent the spread of the virus, a total quarantine was decreed for all of Santiago a week ago. The state of sanitary alert was extended until September 30, and the borders remain closed until July.
Since the pandemic’s start in March 2020, some 1.5 million people have contracted Covid-19, which has killed more than 31,645 people.