Chile’s health authorities reported on Monday, April 12, 2021 that 74.3% of its target population has already received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and announced that approval for a third dose will be confirmed “shortly”.
“As soon as we can, we are going to approve a third dose. We will be following Israel’s strategy by starting with senior citizens, people with underlying health conditions and healthcare personnel,” Health Minister Enrique Paris confirmed.
The third dose campaign will begin following the July rollout of vaccinations for teenagers aged 12-17.
Chile has implemented one of the most successful COVID-19 vaccination campaigns in the world, and to date more than 84% of the target population has had one dose, mostly with CoronaVac and to a lesser extent Pfizer, AstraZeneca and CanSino.
The pandemic is receding in Chile after a severe second wave that lasted three months and took the health system to the brink. However, there has been a 28% drop in the number of daily new cases during the past week and a 30% reduction in the number of patients admitted to intensive care units.
The positivity rate, which is the number of positive COVID-19 infections per 100 PCR tests, was 3.5% nationally and 4% in Santiago over the last 24 hours. It has been below 5% for nine consecutive days.
“This positivity rate indicates that we are progressing satisfactorily. However, we should not be overconfident. We don’t want to repeat what is happening in Europe,” Dr. Paris added.
The favorable epidemiological situation has allowed the authorities to lift quarantine measures and restrictions over the past two weeks. This week will see around ten Chilean neighborhoods released from total confinement and a number of others will once again be able to enjoy freedom of movement during weekends.
From Thursday, all stores and restaurants will be allowed to reopen indoor areas to vaccinated customers, and there will also be a reopening of gyms, sports centers, cinemas, theaters, museums and other establishments that have only been open for a few weeks since March 2020.
The curfew will continue to apply from 10pm to 5am, but will be shortened in the regions of Ñuble, Magallanes and O’Higgins, where it will begin at midnight. Schools will be able to reopen regardless of the epidemiological situation.
However, despite the borders being closed since April except for emergency cases, the Delta variant, which has been described by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the most contagious, has arrived in Chile, with at least three cases having been confirmed there in the last week.