The Chilean government is considering a third, boosting dose of COVID-19 vaccine, President Sebastian Pinera said on Tuesday as Santiago seeks to control the new wave of new coronavirus infections and at the same time identify How effective is the widely used product of the Chinese pharmaceutical industry Sinovac against the most infectious, and potentially most dangerous, variant strains of SARS-CoV-2.
Mr Piniera explained that public health experts were examining "a number of scientific studies" to conclude whether and to what extent a third, boosting dose would be needed as the Latin American state began vaccinating adolescents (12 -17 years) with the Pfizer / BioNTech product.
"As a government we are dedicated to today's problems but we must also expect and prepare for tomorrow's problems," Piniera explained.
Chile relied heavily on the Sinovac vaccine in the national immunization campaign, one of the fastest in the world. 16,8 million doses of this product, another 3,9 million doses of Pfizer / BioNTech and smaller quantities of the vaccines of the Canadian-Chinese Cansino Biologics and the Anglo-Swedish AstraZeneca have been given so far.
So far 78% of the target population of the campaign has received at least one dose and 61% are considered to be fully immunized.
Chile was an important, real-world "laboratory" for the effectiveness of the Sinovac vaccine. In a study published in April, the Chinese vaccine did not appear to be very effective in preventing COVID-19 after the first dose. However, after the second, it proved to be 67% effective in preventing symptomatic infections, 85% effective in preventing hospital admissions and 80% effective in preventing deaths.
Paula Dasha, the country's deputy health minister, told TVN that the protection of the Sinovac vaccine was currently being studied and announced that the findings would be announced in July.
"We expect the data to show that those who were vaccinated in February and received the second dose in March will probably need a third dose in September," Dasa said.
Given that Chile relied on Sinovac's product, questions are being raised as to whether this vaccine can offer protection against different strains of the new coronavirus.
Earlier this week, more than 350 health workers who had been immunized with the Sinovac vaccine in Indonesia, which is hard hit by the Delta variant, developed symptoms of COVID-19.
No case of the Delta variant, originally identified in India, had been recorded in Chile until yesterday; however, cases have been diagnosed in neighboring countries, most notably in Peru and Argentina.