COVID-19 vaccinations in Colombia start on February 17. We look at the planed vaccination rollout schedule in Colombia in a bid to achieve herd immunity.
Colombia received it’s first shipment of 50,000 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech on February 15. The arrival of the first batch of coronavirus vaccine was welcomed to Colombia by President Iván Duque, vice-President Marta Lucia Pamírez and a delegation of government officials in charge of implementing the National Vaccine Program.
The Ministry of Health expects to have 1.1 million doses of vaccine by the end of the month, of which large population centers will receive at least 48 percent. From the initial shipment, Bogotá received 12,582 doses (25 percent); Antioquia 6,570 (13 percent), and Valle del Cauca (Cali) 5,184 (10 percent).
According to El Tiempo, another 192,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine arrived next in Colombia. Colombia plans to have at least 1 million of the most at-risk people vaccinated against coronavirus by the end of March.
Colombia, a country with a population of about 50 million people, hopes to vaccinate some 35 million people in 2021.
Colombia acquired 20 million vaccine doses for 10 million Colombians through COVAX. COVAX was organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) with a goal of building manufacturing capabilities, and buying supply, ahead of time so that 2 billion doses can be fairly distributed worldwide by the end of 2021.
Colombia also purchased another 41.5 million doses in other deals for 25.25 million people. So, Colombia has vaccination deals for about 61.5 million doses enabling 35.25 million people to be vaccinated.
On March 6, El Colombiano reported that Colombia received 958,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine and by March 8, Colombia had received a total of over 2 million vaccine doses as follows:
- 1,697,880 Sinovac doses
- 200,000 Pfizer doses
- 117,000 Pfizer doses (via COVAX)
In early March 2021, Colombia reportedly had completed vaccinations of front-line health workers and started vaccinations of people over 80 years old (most at risk) – phase 1 of its vaccination plan.
By May 4, 2021, Colombia reported that it has completed 5,387, 246 vaccination doses administered and 1,859,657 second doses.
COVID-19 Vaccines Colombia Plans to Use
Total government spending for vaccine acquisition in Colombia now totals 2 trillion pesos (about $560 million USD),
The “National Vaccination Plan” in Colombia now includes five different COVID-19 vaccines:
- Pfizer-BioNTech: 10 million doses purchased for 5 million people – two shots per person.
- AstraZeneca: 10 million doses for 5 million people – two shots per person.
- Janssen (Johnson & Johnson): 9 million doses for 9 million people – single-dose vaccine ad doesn’t require ultra-cold refrigeration, so good for remote locations.
- Moderna: 10 million doses for 5 million people – two shots per person.
- Sinovac: 2.5 million doses for 1.25 million people – two shots per person.
The first vaccines to be used in Colombia are from Pfizer-BioNTech, which was the first vaccine deal that Colombia announced in December 2020.
Health Minister Fernando Ruiz said in December that Pfizer would deliver 1.7 million vaccine doses in February. But in January Ruiz said a reduced delivery of Pfizer vaccines would arrive in Colombia in February.
According to the Health Minister, all these vaccines “have shown efficacy, all exceed the minimum standard required by the World Health Organization (WHO) for vaccination processes.”
Phases of COVID-19 Vaccinations in Colombia
Colombia plan to roll out COVID-19 vaccinations in five phases, as follows:
- Phase 1 – 1,791,366 people – 100 percent of front-line health workers and 100 percent of people aged 80 years old or older (most at risk).
- Phase 2 – 7,192,701 people – 100 percent of the population from 60 to 79 years old and 100 percent of second- and third-line health workers.
- Phase 3 – 2,950,431+ people – Teachers at primary and secondary levels, military and police and those aged 16 to 59 with underlying health issues such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and kidney deficiencies. And on May 4, the population aged 50 to 59 was added to this group
- Phase 4 – 4,910,000 people – 100 percent of institutional caregivers and 100 percent of the population in risk situations.
- Phase 5 – 17,490,151 people – the entire population aged 16 to 49 without underlying health issues.
The goal is to vaccinate first those most at risk in Colombia.
Rollout Schedule of COVID-19 Vaccinations in Colombia
According to the Health Ministry the following is the planned vaccination schedule provided in early Febraury with the number of vaccination doses planned per month in Colombia starting on February 17, 2021:
- February: 337,000 doses
- March: 3,333,764 doses
- April: 4,663,843 doses
- May: 3,939,843 doses
- June: 7,553,450 doses
- July: 8,294,941 doses
- August: 11,258,941 doses
- September: 5,642,941 doses
- October: 6,260,116 doses
- November: 4,934,352 doses
- December: 3,166,666 doses
According to the Health Minister:
Colombia has the possibility of completing 100% of targeted vaccinations in 2021,” rather than an earlier estimate of 2022, “Bear in mind that 35 million people represent almost the entire population over 16 years of age in Colombia.
How Will this Work?
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.
Also, some news sites speculated that top-end hospitals and clinics will most likely offer the vaccine for sale at a high cost. However, according to El Colombiano on February 24, the Ministry of Health said that COVID-19 vaccinations are not for sale anywhere in Colombia.
In addition, President Duque previously announced that irregular migrants, which means at least a million Venezuelans, would be excluded from Colombia’s vaccination plan. The Ministry of Health has suggested that the UN and NGOs should assist with irregular migrant vaccinations.
Coronavirus Status in Colombia
Colombia Ministerio de Salud (Ministry of Health) reported the number of coronavirus cases in Colombia on March 7 – a total of 2,276,656 cases (up +3,411 new cases from March 6) with 60,503 deaths.
Also on March 7, Colombia reported 4,781 new recoveries and a total of 2,177,199 recoveries, as of this date. Furthermore, on March 7, Colombia had 31,706 active coronavirus cases.
The first coronavirus case in Colombia was on March 6, 2020 and by March 7, 2021 the number of cases had grown to 2,276,656 cases. The following chart shows a running 7-day average of new coronavirus cases in Colombia daily, so you can see the trend of new daily cases for more than the past month.
As of March 7, the rolling 7-day average of new daily cases has now dropped 42 days out of the past 46 days in a row in Colombia.
We have a separate article updated daily with the current status of coronavirus in Colombia.
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.
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:
- COVID-19 Vaccinations in Colombia Start on February 17
- PCR Test: How to Get a COVID-19 Test in Medellín
- Nightly Curfews in January in Medellin and Antioquia Start on January 6
- Nightly Curfew in Medellín For Christmas and New Year’s Holidays
- Colombia is Buying 10 Million Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine from Pfizer
- Does Colombia Require a COVID-19 Test for International Travelers?
- 8 Reasons Why Colombia is Unlikely to Return to a Quarantine
- Coronavirus Cases Increase in Medellín: What Happens Next?
- New Normal in Medellín: Medellín is Returning to Normal
- Will the Quarantine Return to Colombia? What if Cases Increase?
- New Normal in Medellín: Medellín is Returning to Normal
- Colombia’s Quarantine Ends on September 1: New Phase Starts
- Tourism Impact of Coronavirus: Colombia Starts to Reactivate Tourism
- Economy Impacts in Colombia Due to Extended Quarantine
- Epicenter of Coronavirus in Colombia: Bogotá is the Epicenter
- Medellín Plans the Total Reopening of Economic Activities in the City
- When Will the Quarantine End in Colombia? On September 1?
- Humanitarian Flights from Colombia to the U.S. and Other Countries
- Beware of Fake News in Colombia About Coronavirus and Quarantines
- Reopening Gymnasiums, Churches and Movie Theaters in Colombia
- Reopening Amusement Parks, Zoos and Nature Reserves in Colombia
- Medellín Starts Free COVID-19 Tests on the Medellín Metro
- New COVID-19 Preventive Measures in Medellín to Contain the Pandemic
- Penalties for Violating the Quarantine in Medellín are Stiff
- COVID-19 Orange Alert in Bogotá: New Lockdowns in Bogotá
- Medellín Starts to Lift the Quarantine: Enters Smart Isolation Phase
- Colombia Started to Lift the Quarantine – What Does this Mean?
- Coronavirus: When Will the Quarantine Be Lifted in Colombia?
- Colombia Starts to Lift the Quarantine in COVID-19 Free Areas
- Colombia Quarantine: Nationwide Quarantine Extended to September 1
- Coronavirus in Colombia: Myth vs Reality – Current Status
- Coronavirus Hospitalization in Colombia: Myth vs Reality
- Are Medellín and Antioquia Winning the Coronavirus Battle?
- 23 Cities with a Major Increase in Coronavirus Cases in Colombia
- Colombia Coronavirus Death Rate: What are the Chances of Dying?
- Coronavirus: When Will Things Return to Normal in Colombia?
- COVID-19 Testing in Colombia: Realty About Coronavirus Testing
- Life as an Expat: During Medellín’s Coronavirus Quarantine
- Colombian Visa Process Changes: Due to Quarantine and Coronavirus
- Medellín Coronavirus Closures – What is Closed in Medellín?
- Pico y Cedula: A Restriction for Grocery Shopping in the Aburrá Valley During the Quarantine
- Pico y Cedula in Colombia: Which is Strictest Out of 5 Largest Cities?
- Medellín Quarantine Starts on March 20 for Four Days
The Bottom Line: COVID-19 Vaccinations in Colombia Start on February 17
Colombia starts vaccinations on February 17 for people most at risk. Over the next few months, as the most at risk are vaccinated, the number of coronavirus deaths and number of people in ICUs should start to fall in Colombia.
This is good news for Colombia and will be the start of a “light at the end of the tunnel” for coronavirus in Colombia.
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Editor note: updated on February 17, 2021 with information that COVID-19 vaccinations start in Colombia on February 17.
Editors note: updated on February 24, 2021 with information that COVID-19 vaccinations are not available for sale anywhere in Colombia.
Editors note: updated on March 8, 2021 with information that on March 8, Colombia had received a total of over 2 million COVID-19 vaccination doses.
Editors note: updated on May 4, 2021, with information that phase 3 of vaccinations in Colombia now includes ages 50-59 and added information about how many vaccination doses have been administered.