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BOGOTA, Nov. 24 (Reuters) – Colombia will seek to vaccinate more than 80% of its population against COVID-19, up from a previous 70% target, as it aims to reduce the risk of further waves of the pandemic reduce, Minister of Health That said Fernando Ruiz on Wednesday.
Colombia has reported more than 5.05 million confirmed coronavirus infections, as well as 128,188 deaths, according to government figures.
The Andean country of 50 million people started vaccinating in February and has so far administered 23.7 million full vaccinations.
“It’s now clear that more than 70% coverage is needed and the goal should be to vaccinate 80%, or maybe 85% of the population to really reduce the risk of new peaks,” Ruiz told an interviewer. Reuters.
Colombia has 94 million doses of vaccine, Ruiz said, theoretically allowing all adults ages 18 and older to receive a booster shot.
The country has purchased 77 million doses of vaccines directly or through the World Health Organization’s Covax mechanism. It has received 15 million doses in donations from the United States, Spain and Germany, while the private sector has purchased 2 million doses, Ruiz said.
Colombia has so far invested 4.5 trillion pesos ($1.14 billion) in its vaccine campaign against COVID-19, he added.
By January, Colombia will have vaccinated 70% of its population, Ruiz said, adding it’s hard to say whether Colombia has reached a fourth peak.
“If we get the (vaccination) coverage of more than 80%, we will soon have a chance to avoid a fourth wave. If we have a coverage of 70% to 80%, we can see a fourth peak with the least number of deaths,” he said. said, though adding that there can be no assurance that no new wave will arrive.
Although he urged people to get the vaccine, Ruiz rejected the idea of making them mandatory.
“Colombians have vaccines, what we need is for them to be vaccinated,” he said, adding that the campaign will continue until cases and deaths drop and COVID-19 becomes endemic.
Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta Writing by Oliver Griffin; edit by Diane Craft
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