The impact of vaccination in Chile Por Dra. Yadranka Zlatar Ryan, MD Lucía Marquez, public health NURSE
Chile is a small country in the South Pacific, which has stood out during the COVID-19 pandemic for its high vaccination rates. How have they achieved this?
Chile has had a public health policy that favors long-standing mass vaccination, in 1978 it promoted a National Immunization Plan that guarantees free access to a complete vaccination schedule for all children living in Chile, as well as annual vaccination campaigns against influenza, pneumococcus and other seasonal diseases, aimed at the population at highest risk. Chileans protect themselves every year with great adherence. Why do Chileans get vaccinated?
The population has witnessed, for example, the eradication of polio in 1975 and measles in 1992. In addition, Chilean health personnel are well informed of the benefits of vaccines, so they recommend it to their patients always. This was especially important in relation to the anti-vaccine movement, which had little adherence in the country. Access to vaccines is also facilitated, mass vaccination in schools, televised campaigns for seasonal vaccination, agreement with companies and services to vaccinate in the workplace, among other measures that favor vaccine arrival to the target population.
As for COVID-19, the government ensured the provision of vaccines even before they went on the market, so once approved they were quickly massified and given to the population, which adheres without great questions since it is a country that is educated, informed, and relies on vaccination against various diseases. Vaccination points were doubled, and millions of doses could be administered quickly.
In addition, since 2011 Chile has had the National Immunization Registry, where all vaccines administered are registered, an important tool for monitoring and keeping statistics. This registration became important in the pandemic, since today we can scan the QR code of the ID and know if it complies with the complete vaccination for the purposes of mobility, travel, entrance to restaurants, etc. Chile managed to vaccinate 92% of its population in December 2021; with a scheme that includes two doses and semi-annual boosters, initiating the application of the fourth dose in conjunction with the wave of the omicron variant, which has been devastating in many countries due to its high contagiousness, however, thanks to extensive vaccination, the mortality rate was 1.2 deaths per hundred thousand inhabitants in the unvaccinated group, and 0.1 for those vaccinated, severe cases admitted to ICU was 2.4 versus 0.2 in those vaccinated; as reported by the Ministry of Health of Chile on January 26, 2022. The real impact of vaccination for this pandemic can be analyzed in retrospect, but current data show great protection, and this information is widely shared with the population.
PROUDLY POWERED BY SOL DE MEDIANOCHE NEWS, LLC. Sol de Medianoche is a monthly publication of the Latino community in Anchorage, Alaska