Chile and Costa Rica will start a roll-out of coronavirus vaccinations on Thursday, becoming a member of Mexico to be among the many first Latin American nations to start mass immunisation campaigns.

Mexico began a mass vaccination programme on Thursday, with a nurse the primary to be proven receiving the jab within the nation with one of many world’s highest COVID-19 dying tolls.

The televised launch got here a day after the primary 3,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine arrived by courier airplane from Belgium.

In the meantime, the primary 10,000 doses of a 10-million order of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine reached Chile on Thursday with inoculations of well being employees within the hardest-hit sectors to start instantly.

Chile is the primary South American nation to start vaccinating in opposition to COVID. Costa Rica additionally obtained its first cargo of the Pfizer doses on Wednesday, whereas Argentina was anticipating the primary doses of Russia’s Sputnik COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday.

Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera appears as employees carry the primary batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to a helicopter, because the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) outbreak continues, on the Santiago Worldwide Airport, in Santiago, Chile December 24, 2020. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera stated the nation has secured 30 million coronavirus vaccines from three suppliers, sufficient to inoculate 15 million individuals – greater than two-thirds of the inhabitants – within the first half of 2021.

The doses arrived at Santiago airport from Pfizer’s manufacturing hub, the city of Puurs in Belgium, simply earlier than 7am native time (10:00 GMT) on Christmas Eve, in keeping with an announcement from the presidency.

The doses had been transferred by police helicopter to a logistics centre within the capital Santiago, with vaccinations attributable to start later within the morning.

A healthcare employee in private protecting gear (PPE) takes a swab from a lady for a fast COVID-19 check through the COVID-19 outbreak in Vina del Mar, Chile [Rodrigo Garrido/Reuters]

Chile is among the many nations in Latin America to have struck essentially the most bilateral offers with pharmaceutical corporations, together with offers with AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Sinovac in addition to the worldwide vaccine distribution scheme COVAX

In the meantime, Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado Quesada instructed a information convention vaccinations would start there on Thursday.

“It may be the beginning of the end of this pandemic,” he added.

The Costa Rican chief was at Juan Santamaria Airport within the capital San Jose to greet a flight delivering the primary 9,750 doses of the vaccine, which arrived at 9pm (03:00 GMT on Thursday).

Costa Rica final week introduced it had accepted the vaccine, with well being employees and the aged now anticipated to be the primary to obtain jabs.

The nation of about 5 million individuals had recorded greater than 160,000 coronavirus instances as of Wednesday, with 2,065 deaths.

Like many others within the area, its well being system has been positioned below extreme pressure by the variety of infections.

Medical workers wait to obtain the primary of two injections with a dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine at Common Hospital in Mexico Metropolis [Edgard Garrido/Reuters]

Notably hard-hit have been Brazil and Mexico, which grew to become the primary Latin American nation to obtain the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Wednesday.

The Central American nation now has extra individuals hospitalised for COVID-19 than it noticed on the peak of the primary wave of the pandemic in late July.

The Well being Division says 18,301 individuals are in hospitals throughout Mexico being handled for the illness that may be attributable to the coronavirus. That’s 0.four p.c greater than in July.

Mexico Metropolis, the capital, is the epicentre of the present wave of infections and 85 p.c of its hospital beds are in use.

Cool bins with doses of the Sputnik V COVID vaccine are loaded on the Sheremetyevo airport, in Moscow [Argentina Presidency/Handout via Reuters]

The state of Morelos, simply south of the capital, grew to become the fourth of Mexico’s 32 states to declare a “red” alert, which is able to result in a partial lockdown and the closure of non-essential companies beginning Thursday.

Mexico has recorded greater than 1.Three million instances of COVID-19 and greater than 120,000 deaths linked to the illness, the fourth-highest dying toll on the earth, in keeping with a Johns Hopkins College tally.

Medical personnel will probably be first in line on Thursday when vaccinations with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine start in Mexico Metropolis.

Elsewhere in Latin America, Argentina is because of obtain 25 million doses of Russia’s controversial Sputnik V vaccine on Thursday.

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