In statements to the television news Telemetro Reporta, Dr. Ortega said that China and Russia on multiple occasions met Foreign and Health Ministries to discuss access to these vaccines and ‘they (Russia and China) did not have availability at the time we needed them, and we also had already reached agreements with a significant number of doses’.
Dr. Ortega specified that the agreed vaccine number amounts to nine million doses with ‘two very safe and effective vaccines’ (Pfizer and AstraZeneca), which must arrive in Panama within two months, ‘so we decided that if the vaccines could not arrive in before July, August and September, they were not necessary.’
‘Right now we have vaccines for 4.6 million people and if we vaccinate the entire country, we only need 4.3 million, so we have more vaccines than we are really going to need,’ said Dr. Ortega, who also talked about the possibility of immunize later children under 15 years of age, who account for 27% of total population.
Dr. Ortega, who also serves as secretary of the National Secretariat of Science, Technology and Innovation, reported that AstraZeneca vaccine doses will soon arrive in the provinces of Chiriquí (west) and Veraguas (center), the two regions hardest hit by Covid-19.
Regarding the need to apply a third Pfizer vaccine dose in seven-to-nine-period, Dr. Ortega assured that it is still too early to talk about this, since the immune response could be more durable, at least a year, as happened with Sars and Mers viruses at the time. ef/pll/msm/npg