The President of Chile, Sebastian Piñera, announced on Tuesday that progress in agreements will secure the procurement of potential COVID-19 vaccines.
President Piñera explained how the Government has been working on two action plans for months now. First, in the field of research (R&D) and clinical trials, collaboration agreements have been reached between Universidad Católica de Chile and Sinovac (Biotech); Universidad de Chile and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson; Universidad de Chile and Clínica Las Condes with AstraZeneca; and Universidad de la Frontera with CanSino Biologics.
The aim of this line of work is to promote rapid access to vaccines and strengthen scientific capabilities.
Secondly, the Government has organized meetings and participated in conversations with the main laboratories developing the vaccines that hold the most promise. Regarding this work, President Piñera announced an agreement with COVAX, a global initiative led by the World Health Organization, the European Union and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Moreover, the government has been working in collaboration with Prosur (Forum for the Progress of South America) especially with Colombia and Peru.
Speaking from La Moneda Palace and accompanied by Science Minister Andrés Couve, Foreign Minister Andrés Allamand and Colombian President Iván Duque via teleconference, the President made the following announcement: “This agreement with the COVAX global partnership permits us to accelerate development and have more options and alternatives resulting in rapid, guaranteed access to a safe and efficient COVID-19 vaccine. This means accessing eight million vaccine doses of our choice and validated by WHO, the World Health Organization.”
President Piñera also announced an agreement with Pfizer-BioNtech enabling the procurement of ten million vaccine doses with a delivery schedule starting next year in the event that trials and necessary approvals are successful.
The Government of Chile has already submitted an expression of interest and issued the corresponding purchase orders in the acquisition of 14.4 million AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine doses currently under development. This is in addition to agreements with other new partnerships with international laboratories.
The President indicated that once a safe and efficient vaccine exists, it will be necessary to vaccinate the citizens who are most vulnerable to COVID-19. This includes five million Chileans (representing 26% of the country’s population). Priority will be given to health workers, people aged 65 and up, the chronically ill and those confined indoors, to be followed by younger age groups. “These actions and initiatives developed by our Government will continue to be in place with the sole objective of protecting the health and life of our citizens,” the President said.