Colombia is starting booster COVID-19 Vaccinations beginning on November 24 in a phased approach until next year.

President Iván Duque of Colombia announced yesterday that as of November 24, they will begin to apply anti-COVID booster doses to populations over 18 years of age in a phased manner.

Several Medellin Guru readers asked about booster vaccines and we now have information and a schedule.

Duque added that they hope to vaccinate 35 million people in Colombia with at least one dose before the end of November.

Booster COVID-19 Vaccination Schedule in Colombia

Although currently the population over 50 years of age can apply the reinforcement four months after having completed their first vaccination series, the Minister of Health, Fernando Ruiz, assured that the population between 18 and 49 years of age will only be able to have a booster shot after six months.

On November 24, 2021, Colombia starts booster vaccinations with the populations that were vaccinated in stages 1 and 2 of vaccination,” said Ruiz. This means that health workers, epidemiologists, pilots and people who work in funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries will be prioritized. This should also include those over 60 years old.

Stage 3 population will begin their booster vaccinations on December 21, 2021. This will apply to educational personnel, the Military Forces, the Police, the Indigenous Guard, the officials of the Attorney General’s Office and of Migration Colombia. And this should include those over 50 years old.

As of January 18, 2022, the booster vaccinations of the population that was included in stage 4 will begin. This includes street dwellers, air traffic controllers, the crew of international ship and institutional caregivers.

On February 16, 2022, the reinforcements may be applied to the populations included in stage 5, which in practice are all citizens over 18 years of age.

The goal is to provide vaccination boosters for those most at risk first.

How Does the COVID-19 Vaccinations Work in Colombia?

Vaccinations will mostly through the existing Colombian health system. People registered with EPS insurance will be called to vaccination appointments at their local EPS walk-in clinics. 

Since the EPS providers already have data, they can schedule people for vaccinations based on their age and health priority and avoid mass gatherings. Anyone who is a foreign resident in Colombia can join an EPS and would be in the system for vaccinations.

Several Medellin Guru readers who are members of EPS health insurance have reported being contacted by EPS providers for vaccinations. And these vaccinations are free.

Also, we have an article about an expat’s experience being vaccinated in Colombia, the founder of Medellin Guru. You should be able t check on the Mi Vacuna app for cell phones to see if you can schedule a booster if you are eligible during the phased roll-out.

Note that private companies can buy vaccines but must vaccinate for free. So, companies that do this only vaccinate employees.

Colombia has 24 of the Best Hospitals in Latin America

Colombia has 24 of the Best Hospitals in Latin America

Healthcare in Colombia

Colombia has 24 of the top 58 clinics and hospitals in Latin America, according to a study in late 2019 by América Economia. So, 41 percent of the best hospitals in Latin America are found in Colombia. Nine of these best hospitals in Latin America are located in Medellín and nine are in Bogotá.

In 2017, Colombia had 20 of the top 49 clinics and hospitals in Latin America. And in 2018, Colombia had 23 of the top 58 hospitals. So, the count in 2019 has increased to 24 of the top 58 clinics and hospitals in Latin America for 2019.

In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) ranks Colombia’s healthcare system as #22 out of 191 countries it ranked. And no other countries in Latin America were ranked higher than Colombia. So, according to WHO, Colombia has the best healthcare system in Latin America.

Also, Colombia’s healthcare system is ranked higher than many wealthier countries like the United States (#37), Germany (#25), Canada (#30) and Australia (#32).

In Colombia, it is possible to have access to world-class healthcare at a fraction of the cost compared to the healthcare costs in North America or Europe. Furthermore, the costs for healthcare in Colombia can be significantly lower than the costs found in the U.S.

Due to having the best healthcare system in Latin America, Colombia is probably better positioned than many other countries in Latin America to handle coronavirus.

Health Insurance in Colombia

Health insurance is relatively inexpensive in Colombia and will cover you if you happen to catch COVID-19.

One of the reasons that Colombia has such a highly rated healthcare system is due to a new constitution that Colombia drafted in 1991 that made access to healthcare a basic human right to all citizens of Colombia, as well as foreign residents of Colombia.

There are three types of health insurance available in Colombia:

  1. EPS – Entidadas Promotoras de Salud– this is the public health insurance that is mandatory for everybody who is a resident of Colombia. The monthly premium is calculated as 12.5 percent of the monthly gross income that you declare to the EPS.
  2. Prepagada – this is private healthcare insurance in Colombia. The monthly premium for Prepagada varies depending on your age, the plan you choose and any pre-existing conditions.
  3. SISBEN – this is a free government subsidized healthcare system, which is only for very poor or homeless Colombians.

Medellin Guru has partnered with an insurance agent to offer health insurance, SURA EPS insurance and other insurance products like life insurance, homeowners insurance and auto insurance to foreigners and Colombians.

We partnered with Angela Berrio, who is a bilingual insurance agent who speaks English and Spanish. And she has many foreigner clients.

Over 195 Medellin Guru readers have obtained insurance through our partnership including health insurance, auto insurance, homeowners insurance, life insurance and travel insurance.

This insurance service is easy to use, just click on the button below to get started.

Use the Medellin Guru Insurance Service

We highly recommend using a bilingual insurance agent to sign up for insurance in Colombia instead of trying to sign up yourself. Everything for signing up for insurance in Colombia is in Spanish and the forms can be complicated to fill out. And Angela will take care of signing you up for the Colombian insurance that is appropriate for your situation.

Computer generated image of COVID-19, photo by Felipe Esquivel Reed

Computer generated image of COVID-19, photo by Felipe Esquivel Reed

Medellin Guru’s Coronavirus Series

Medellin Guru has a series of articles about the coronavirus pandemic and the impacts in Colombia: Also, these articles are being kept up-to-date, as this is a fast-moving topic:

The Bottom Line: Colombia Starts Booster COVID-19 Vaccinations on November 24

The bottom line is that Colombia is starting booster COVID-19 Vaccinations starting on November 24 in a phased approach until next year.

The COVID-19 vaccines are working but health experts are starting to see reduced protection, especially among certain populations, against mild and moderate disease. Although COVID-19 vaccination for older adults remains effective in preventing severe disease, recent data suggest vaccination is less effective at preventing infection or milder illness with symptoms over time. 

So, a booster vaccine shot is recommended. Does it need to be the same brand of vaccine?  It is unknown at this time if Colombia will be using the same vaccine brand for the booster shots.

According the the CDC in the U.S., “You may choose which COVID-19 vaccine you receive as a booster shot. Some people may prefer the vaccine type that they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different booster. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots. 

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