Chile shows that agile vaccination does not end lockdowns

Chile’s experience shows that rapid delivery of Covid-19 vaccines is not necessarily enough to prevent lockdowns, England’s top medical official said on Monday, adding that a continuous and cautious approach to easing restrictions is important.

The UK has already given a first dose of the vaccine to more than 31.5 million people, prompting some supporters of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to urge him to end the English lockdown more quickly.

But Chile, which also has one of the fastest vaccination rates in the world, has closed its borders and tightened an already rigid lockdown.

Chris Whitty said that the example of Chile contrasted with that of Israel and that it is not clear whether this was due to the timing of the distributions, the vaccines used, interactions with variants of the coronavirus or other factors.

“We don’t know yet … we certainly need to learn from these countries that are far ahead of us, or paired with us, in terms of vaccine distribution, and these are two of the main ones,” he said at a news conference.

“This is the reason why we want to do things continuously, because the assumption that just because you vaccinate many people the problem goes away, I think Chile is a good remedy for that.”

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