Having completed exactly six months since getting a second dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, I was hesitant to go on a goose chase in Bogotá to get my booster. But given that the city is half-empty with millions out of town for the holidays, I decided to take stroll yesterday to my nearest shopping mall Ave.Chile (Calle 72 with Cra 9), as it is one of many vaccination points in the usually traffic-congested north of the Colombian capital.
So, if you are eligible for a booster (all persons in Colombia age 18 or over are), and have fully completed a vaccine scheme, either with a single dose of Janssen, or double dose of Moderna, Pfizer, Sinovac and AstraZeneca, here is a quick “how to guide” to get your booster:
- On your desktop or mobile, register online at vacunatebogota.com This web portal encompasses all the vaccination centers inside shopping malls. The registration process is very straight forward, and once you have filled out, your full name, date of birth, home address, ID number, and email, you’ll be able to pick at what time you want your booster, by date and half-hour time slots. Same day walks-ins are available.
- Once you have a date and time assigned, head to over the vaccination site, giving yourself at least an extra 45 minutes to wait in line. As many office workers are getting a head start on their vaccine schemes, usually before 10:00 am when the vaccination posts open to the public, there’s usually a lull in the queue between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm.
- Bring a pen as you’ll be required to fill out the official consent form issued by the Ministry of Health. Health care professionals hand them out for free, and if you have issues with the Spanish language you won’t have any trouble filling out this one page document as there are representatives from an IPS attending many locals and foreigners.
- You’ll be asked by the IPS representatives which pharmaceutical you want, but be prepared that preferred doses do deplete, and Pfizer is not being administered at this moment as a booster.
- Once in the mall, follow the line and healthcare workers will usher you to the vaccination booth with separate line for each pharmaceutical.
- Hand over your ID card and international vaccine certificate if getting a booster. Then, it’s time to roll up your sleave. The whole process, once inside the mall, takes approximately 20 minutes. You’ll be asked to wait post-inoculation in a room until your documents are all returned with the MiVacuna card. You’re set to go.
Having done my full vaccination scheme in New York over the summer, I found the booster process in Bogotá was smooth, cordial and efficient. Even though the line outside the mall may appear long, persons are socially distancing and this make the line appear that much longer. I calculated that for every 20 persons, the wait time outside Ave.Chile was 30 minutes, so just plan ahead, be patient and get boosted. On Monday, Colombia registered an additional 3,281 COVID-19 infections and 37 deaths, putting fatalities since the start of the pandemic at 129,798 and total number of infections at 5,127,971.