Chile reaches 5 million vaccinated against Covid-19.

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source: abcnews.go.com

Chile exceeded five million people vaccinated against Covid-19 with at least one dose, belonging to the highest risk groups, two weeks before the deadline established by the government of Sebastián Piñera, the authorities reported.

The process of vaccination in this country of 19 million residents started on December 24 with health personnel. It continued with the population groups most at risk - chronic patients and the elderly - as of February 3. The government had to reach a minimum of one dose to five million by March 30. 

So far, two vaccines have been administered in Chile: that of the American laboratory Pfizer and Coronavac, of the Chinese Sinovac. 

The health authorities indicated that they had managed to vaccinate 5,011,517 people with at least one dose; thanks to a large deployment throughout the country, around 15,000 vaccination centers are primarily managed by the municipal and health care centers. 

This achievement is merit and belongs to all Chileans, said President Piñera at the La Moneda presidential palace ceremony, where the first vaccination goal was announced.

The second objective is to vaccinate with the two doses to 15 of the 19 million inhabitants of the country during the first semester, at a rate of more than 150,000 immunized people a day, but that during some days has exceeded 415,000 doses in one day.

This Tuesday, 2,139,079 people were already vaccinated against Covid with both doses, according to the report from the Ministry of Health.

Difficult task

The Piñera government began in May of last year the efforts to close agreements for the purchase of vaccines. The president indicated that Chile has until today insured 35 million doses from various laboratories.

To date, all health personnel has been vaccinated, and most of the teachers have at least one dose after the start of the austral school year this March.

"Ensuring vaccines for all Chileans has been an extraordinarily difficult task full of obstacles, but we have accomplished it," added Piñera, whose government had allocated nearly 300 million dollars to purchase the doses.

However, the first goal is met when the country faces an increase in daily coronavirus infections, with more than 5,000 new cases reported and a worrying rise in Intensive Care Units' occupancy rates.

Covid-19 has infected more than 900,000 people in Chile and has claimed about 21,700 lives. 

A light with the vaccine

Despite the rise in infections, which forced the government to return to confine almost a third of the country's population this week, the vaccination process's progress has generated great hope.

A nursing home in southern Chile, whose residents and staff had received at least one dose of the Sinovac vaccine in the first week of February, successfully weathered a large coronavirus outbreak after 70 infected were reported at the site.

Only one older adult died, but "she was one of the four residents of the home who for various reasons did not receive the vaccine," according to the San Vicente de Paul home, in the town of Ancud.

On Monday, March 8, 25 residents of that center (including 24 older adults already recovered from coronavirus) and staff received the second dose of the vaccine.

The vaccine also reached the Chilean bases deployed in Antarctica, where the first people had already been vaccinated.

On December 21, after months without infections, a coronavirus outbreak was reported with up to 36 infected at the base maintained by the Chilean Army in this territory.

Until then, Antarctica was one of the few places in the world that were free of coronavirus.