Colombia’s health authorities will have to drastically step up applying COVID-19 shots if they want to keep up with an expected increase in vaccine deliveries.
Health Minister Fernando Ruiz said Friday that he expects to have received 23.2 million vaccine shots from foreign pharmaceutical companies before the end of July.
President Ivan Duque said Saturday that almost 250 thousand AstraZeneca shots arrived from Europe and almost 775 thousand Sinovac shots arrived from China.
Almost 3.2 million shots have arrived since the delivery of the first shipment on February 17, according to the president’s office.
The government’s National Vaccination Plan seeks to vaccinate more than 35 million people before the end of the year, but appears to have trouble effectively distributing and applying vaccine shots.
At the end of the first month of the unprecedented vaccination drive, less than 1.2 million people had received their first vaccine shot and 55 thousand people were fully vaccinated.
According to the Health Ministry, regional health authorities have applied shots at less than 40% of the capacity promised by Ruiz last month.
Some 55 thousand people received shots on Friday as approximately half of the vaccines were somewhere between Bogota and regional hospitals.
National Vaccination Plan progress
Drastic capacity increase needed
According to Ruiz, more than 8 million vaccine shots will arrive in April alone, which would require the healthcare system to multiply its vaccination capacity by five.
According to medical and patient organizations, the failure to effectively execute the National Vaccination Plan are due to private healthcare intermediaries’ involvement in the system.
These companies are involved in the distribution of the vaccines and the planning of their application, but are notoriously corrupt and ineffective.
The healthcare organizations have been calling on the government to execute the National Vaccination Plan without the involvement of these private intermediaries, but without effect.