SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chile will begin administering booster doses to people already inoculated with CoronaVac, President Sebastián Piñera said on Thursday, as studies have shown that the two initial doses lose some of their effectiveness after a few months.
Chile launched one of the fastest mass inoculation campaigns against Covid-19 in the world in February, and has already fully vaccinated more than 60% of its population, most of it with CoronaVac, from the Chinese laboratory Sinovac.
“We decided to start a booster vaccination for those who have already received the two doses of Sinovac vaccine,” Piñera said in a televised statement.
The country will begin administering an additional dose of Astrazeneca vaccine on August 11, starting with citizens over 55 who received their doses before March 31.
Chile joins the United States, Germany and France in ignoring a call by the World Health Organization (WHO) not to give booster vaccines until more people around the world are vaccinated.
Chilean Health Undersecretary Paula Daza said domestic and international studies suggest that booster doses would help boost immunity, but that Chile has already donated vaccines to its neighbors and will continue to help as needed.
“We are always analyzing the recommendations, and obviously the possibility of cooperating with other Latin American countries,” she said.
The number of Chileans killed by the pandemic stands at 35,806, and there have been about 1.6 million confirmed cases in total so far.
(By Dave Sherwood and Fabian Cambero)
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