Uruguay's Health Minister Daniel Salinas Wednesday announced that the vaccination campaign against COVID-19 due to start in March 2023 had been moved forward in light of an increasing number of infections.
Starting now next week, those to receive the fifth dose will be people over 80 years of age, he also explained. We are announcing the advancement of the fifth dose for the last week of December approximately, especially to those over 80 years of age, Salinas detailed.
Salinas also admitted Uruguay was going through a new wave that has caused a sharp increase in cases in recent weeks. Last year, at the height of January, we had an important peak and it extended into February. Now, starting in December, we have had three weeks of growth, Salinas pointed out.
At least we expect that during January it will be extremely active, Salinas also told reporters, and urged people to take care when we are in certain circumstances, both at the intra-hospital level, in residential areas and in very closed meetings, with little space.
Regarding the new BQ.1 lineage of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, Salinas said four confirmed cases had been reported. The predominant [variant] is BA.4 and BA.5. BQ.1 was detected... but it is not yet the predominant one.
Last Monday, 4,941 new cases were confirmed between Dec. 11 and 17, an 87 % increase from the previous week, for a total of 1,002,988 infections in a population of 3.4 million since the beginning of the pandemic.
According to the local health authorities, 81 % of Uruguayans received two doses of the coronavirus vaccine and almost 60 % received three injections.