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QUITO, Nov 24 (Reuters) – Ecuador will administer booster shots against COVID-19 to the general population from January 2022, the government said on Wednesday, acknowledging an increase in the number of cases in the Amazon due to difficulties in administering vaccinations.
About 68% of Ecuador’s population has received two doses of vaccine, and the government hopes to vaccinate 85% of the country’s 17.8 million people.
“From January, we will start applying booster shots to the general population, following the same rollout as our vaccination plan,” Health Minister Ximena Garzon told reporters.
The country is already giving booster shots to elderly patients, as well as patients with immunodeficiency disorders and frontline medical personnel.
The government’s goal is to bring the coronavirus under control to sustain Ecuador’s economic recovery as it grapples with liquidity problems exacerbated by the pandemic.
Garzon acknowledged problems with vaccine rollouts, particularly in the Amazon provinces, due to hesitation, leading to rising cases in the region.
“We have a small outbreak in these counties. We have more cases of COVID-19, including those requiring hospitalization and intensive care units,” she said.
According to the health ministry, the country has recorded losses of 525,000 cases of coronavirus, as well as more than 33,000 confirmed and probable deaths.
Ecuador has enough doses to vaccinate its target 85% of the population and will receive at least three million additional vaccines between January and February 2022, Garzon said.
Reporting by Alexandra Valencia Writing by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Aurora Ellis
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