Chile to become first country in Latin America to offer fourth COVID shot

“Starting next Monday, January 10, we are
going to start a new mass vaccination process with a fourth dose or a second
booster dose,” said Pinera in a press conference.

Chile has one of the world’s highest
vaccination rates and has been hailed as a model for its response to the
pandemic, having administered two doses to over 85% of the population. About
57% have received a third booster shot, according to Our World in Data.

Chile’s announcement comes as the highly
contagious omicron variant is spreading worldwide, with several countries
reporting all-time high COVID-19 case loads even among vaccinated populations.
Cases in Mexico have more than doubled in the past week, while Peru imposed new
restrictions this week.

“The success that Chile has had in the
vaccination process (…) puts us among the best countries in the world in the
way we have managed to combat this pandemic,” Pinera added. “And with
this fourth dose we seek to maintain this leadership position and protect the
health and lives of our compatriots.”

The vaccines for the fourth dose will be a
combination of the same shots that have been used so far in Chile, including
Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinovac and AstraZeneca, said Health Minister Enrique Paris.

This combination of different vaccines between
the first and fourth doses should allow “an improvement in the immune
response,” Paris explained.

Chile reported its first case of the omicron
variant at the beginning of December and has confirmed 698 cases of this
variant have been reported, the vast majority corresponding to people who
travelled outside the country.

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