Chile has started giving the third dose of the anti-Covid-19 vaccine to the elderly who have received two doses of the Chinese vaccine from the Sinovac laboratory, health officials in the South American country have said.
President Sebastian Pinera told a news conference that, initially, this unprecedented operation across the region would concern people over the age of 86. The head of state, quoted by the local press, said the process would continue for another 4 weeks to include people aged 55.
Overall, around 2 million people are affected by the third dose of the anti-COVID vaccine.
Health officials said the operation was aimed at countering the risk of the delta variant threatening the country.
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The vaccination booster is done with the British vaccine AstraZeneca, because, according to the Under Secretary of Health, Paula Daza, “when a combination of different vaccines is made, the immune response is very positive”. He said health officials are also planning a combination with the US Pfizer vaccine.
More than 82% of the targeted Chilean population – or 12.5 million people – have completed the coronavirus vaccination programme.
For several weeks, Chile has reported a drop in new infections and deaths from the coronavirus.
To date, it has accumulated over 1.6 million positive cases and over 36,000 deaths. According to the Directorate of Health Statistics, the positivity rate stands at 1.5%, one of the lowest figures in the country since the start of the pandemic.
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