Uruguay will be receiving the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines next Thursday evening and the official inoculation campaign will begin on Monday March first. Over the weekend those in charge of vaccination will be the first to receive the shots, according to president Luis Lacalle Pou.
Following a several hours cabinet meeting on Monday, the president next to Health minister Daniel Salinas and the Presidency's secretary Alvaro Delgado called a media conference to advance details of the vaccination program, which will take off with 192,000 doses of China's Sinovac.
Sometime in the night of Feb 25 and morning of 26 Feb, we will be receiving 192,000 doses of the Sinovac jab, which will be complemented with an additional 1,558,000 doses in mid March, president Lacalle Pou revealed, who also anticipated that sometime between March 8 and mid April, Uruguay will be receiving 460,000 doses of the US/German Pfizer vaccine.
The president said the campaign takes off with the vaccination of Education staff, since on March first schools will also reopen with students present, the security forces, firemen and military, and all those under sixty, who wish to be inoculated. Vaccination is not mandatory but hopefully all of us will understand that it is for the good of the overall community
The health and sanitary staff will be immunized in the second week of March with the Pfizer vaccine. This is a technical non political decision. If the time lap between the Chinese and Pfizer had been longer, we would have proceeded to inoculate everybody with Sinovac, but since the time lap is less than ten days, we have decided to wait, argued the president.
According to a release from the Uruguayan Health ministry with a detail of available vaccines, all of them approved under emergency circumstances, the Sinovac is 55% effective while Pfizer, 91%, which could help to explain the situation.
Lacalle Pou added that he and his cabinet expect the vaccination process to be fluid and continuous with no dead time between the arrival of the first batch and those which will complete the 3,8 million doses purchased by Uruguay, (Sinovac, Pfizer and the 1,5 million from the Covax program, under supervision of the World Health Organization to make vaccines accessible to all countries and peoples of the world).
During a question period following the media conference, Lacalle Pou said he was certain that once the vaccination campaign takes off, Uruguay has the necessary infrastructure and experience to inoculate 30,000 people a day six days a week.
In the meantime all protocols remain in force, including social distancing and no agglomerations. In effect on request from the Home Secretary and given a repeat of illegal parties, the freedom of assembly ban has been extended for another thirty days, based on 'public health' reasons, the maximum time without asking for a vote from the Legislative. Likewise most borders remain closed with a couple of exceptions in accordance with Brazilian authorities.
But Lacalle Pou insisted that despite the current situation it is the intention of his administration to reopen borders and re-launch activities, because the main challenges are recovering jobs and helping the economy to again pick up strongly.
As you well know we have always worked on the assumption that we favor openness, freedom, responsibility by opposition to confinement, and this continues to be our guidance
The president also anticipated that the scientific team that advises on pandemic measures is looking into making blood tests at border controls to ensure anybody coming into Uruguay has the C19 antibodies, and the implementation of a regional or international sanitary passport.
Finally the daily report on the Covid 19 situation indicated that Uruguay currently has 5,882 positive cases, of which 68 in ICU, and 583 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Of a total contagion of 53,310, the recovered are 46,845.