Bogota, Mar 1 (efe-epa).- A shipment of 117,000 doses of Pfizer’s anti-Covid vaccine, available as part of the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (Covax) program, arrived Monday in Colombia, the first country in the Americas to receive doses via this mechanism.
The aircraft carrying the vaccine touched down at Bogota’s El Dorado Airport at 1:10 pm.
The Covax mechanism is sponsored by the World Health Organization and – so far – has delivered vaccine only to Ghana, the Ivory Coast, India, South Korea and Colombia.
“I celebrate with you the first delivery of vaccines to Colombia, the first country in the Americas to receive vaccine via the Covax mechanism,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanon Ghebreyesus said.
The Colombian government on Oct. 30, 2020, signed an agreement with Covax to acquire 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to immunize 10 million people in the South American nation against the coronavirus.
Colombian President Ivan Duque, who took delivery of the vaccine shipment, as he has done with other shipments, acknowledged the work of Covax in guaranteeing “that countries who do not have sufficient means to access the (vaccines) can do so in an equitable and fair manner.”
Tedros noted that 237 million doses of vaccine will be allocated to 142 countries via the multilateral entity created to provide global access to Covid-19 vaccines without favoritism toward any country for its income level or negotiating power so that no country will be left behind in the effort to inoculate the global public against the coronavirus.
“Much work remains to be done,” Tedros said, in terms of beginning to vaccinate people in all countries within the first 100 days of 2021.
Forty days remain before the deadline and access to the vaccines is not only correct but the most intelligent thing that we can do, the WHO director said.
These 117,000 doses come in addition to several other shipments received by Colombia over the past few weeks, and thus the country now has 217,310 doses of the Pfizer drug and 192,000 of China’s Sinovac vaccine.
These two drugs are being administered to front-line medical personnel and others responding to the pandemic and to people over age 80, but the inoculation process, which began on Feb. 20, is still progressing very slowly.
So far, Colombia has administered 130,578 doses, an average of 7,254 per day, but regions of the country such as Putumayo and Choco have only administeed 174 and 144 doses, respectively.
The government has set a goal of vaccinating 35.2 million people in 2021, equivalent to 70 percent of the Colombian population.
The coronavirus pandemic so far has infected at least 2,251,690 people in Colombia and killed 59,766.