SANTIAGO, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) — Chile on Thursday began to vaccinate its population against the novel coronavirus, after the arrival of the first 10,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera and Health Ministry officials were on hand for the vaccination of the first five healthcare workers from intensive care units in the capital Santiago, who were vaccinated at the city’s Metropolitan Hospital.
Zulema Riquelme, a 46-year-old nursing technician, was the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, which was then applied to a doctor, a nurse, a kinesiologist and an assistant, all from different hospitals.
Riquelme said the pandemic has entailed “tough, very tiring months,” during which she was unable to see her family.
She urged “everyone to get vaccinated and thus help us lower our workload.”
Minister of Health Enrique Paris said vaccination would continue Friday at different area hospitals before vaccines are flown to the regions currently hardest hit by the health crisis, including the southern Biobio, La Araucania and Magallanes.
Chile’s Ministry of Health on Thursday reported 2,395 new cases of infection and 75 fatalities from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, for a total caseload of 593,310 and 16,303 deaths.