Chile declared on Aug. 5 that it will administer booster vaccines to citizens who have received China’s Sinovac in order to raise immunity. The move comes after finding the initial doses lose some effectiveness after several months’ time.
Chile is one of the Latin American countries that has done most of its vaccinations with China-made COVID-19 vaccines—including Sinovac’s CoronaVac. The country launched a mass vaccination campaign in February and has now fully vaccinated more than 60 percent of its population.
“We have decided to start a reinforcement of the vaccination of those who have already received both doses of the vaccine Sinovac,” President Sebastian Pinera announced in a televised speech on Thursday.
Despite a successful vaccination run, Chile was battling a new wave in the first half of this year with over 5,000 new infections on average daily.
Studies found the Sinovac vaccine was 58.5 percent effective in preventing symptomatic illness among millions of Chileans who got the shot between February and July, Chilean health authorities said on Aug. 3.
Yet Beijing’s epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan claimed that China-made vaccines are 100 percent effective in preventing intensive care admission.
“Effective, very safe,” Zhong responded during a summit in Guangzhou last week after people questioned the effectiveness of Chinese doses against the Delta variant.
Chilean authorities said both Pfizer’s and AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 shot was found to be 98 percent effective in preventing intensive care admission and 100 percent effective in preventing death.
Chileans over 55 who got vaccinated before March 31 can receive an additional dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Aug. 11.
The pandemic has killed over 35,000 people in Chile and about 1.6 million have been infected so far.
Reuters contributed to the report.