News that the U.K Government has authorized the Pfizer BioNtech anti-Covid-19 vaccine, with first doses to be given next week to medical staffers and at high-risk patients, is forcing nations around the world to speed up inoculation schedules and place orders with the pharma giant – and Colombia – in the race.
According to the Ministry of Finance, the national government has set aside COP$430,000 million (US$130 million) to secure 10 million doses of the 95% effective vaccine.
These numbers break down to an average cost of USD$6 per dose, with patients requiring two for successful treatment. The national government asserts that reaching a competitive cost for the vaccine is the result of negotiations with Pfizer and commitment by the company to directly deliver the vials to hospitals with the required safety standards and refrigeration at minus 70 degrees Celcius.
The first vaccinations will take place in mid-January with the first batch of vials acquired directly from Pfizer. The government estimates that 14 million citizens remain most at risk of contracting the virus. “We are aiming to reduce mortality among the most vulnerable populations during the initial stage of vaccination,” stated Minister of Health Fernando Ruíz, adding that other populations not considered at risk may have to wait until 2022 to be inoculated.
Colombia ranks in tenth place among the world’s nations with the highest cases of coronavirus infections, surpassed in South America by Argentina and Brazil. On Wednesday, the country’s total tally stood at 1,334,089 including the day’s additional 9,297. The National Institute of Health processed Wednesday 56,151 PCR and Antigen tests. The death toll since the outbreak of the virus in March climbed to 37,117.
Having surpassed Colombia with 110,000 more cases and ranked ninth in the world in the Johns Hopkins counter, the Argentine government announced that it aims to treat 300,000 citizens during December with the new Pfizer vaccine.