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Nurse Pamela Muños has a special job. She travels around and vaccinates old and sick against covid-19.
– We go home to people, because it is difficult for them to come to us, the nurse says in a report from the TV agency Reuters.
She is employed at the hospital in Huépil – a small town 50 miles south of Chile’s capital Santiago.
Every day she travels around in an ambulance with vaccine doses from Chinese Sinovac and American Pfizer. And the service is very popular.
– I’m glad they’re coming. For now, I do not have to go out and risk being infected, says an elderly woman who receives her second dose and is fully vaccinated.
– Great success
Chile with its more than 17 million inhabitants is the only one here in Latin America when it comes to vaccination against covid-19. Around 37 percent of the country’s adult population has received at least one vaccine dose. 21 percent are fully vaccinated. With 57 doses per 100 inhabitants, the country is among them world leader.
– The vaccination in Chile has been a great success, says director Lorenzo León of Caritas, the country’s largest aid organization.
– One of the reasons is that the government has done a good job of obtaining vaccines. Another is that we have a skilled healthcare system. It is well organized and has extensive experience with vaccination, he says in an interview with NRK.
– Poor discipline
– But success has its downside, says Claudio Castillo.
He is an expert in public health at the University of Santiago.
– The more people who are vaccinated, the less dangerous people think the pandemic is. Thus, they expose themselves to greater risk than they did before the vaccination started, the expert tells Reuters.
Poor discipline, especially during the holiday season in January and February, is an important reason why Chile is now hit by a new powerful corona wave.
The death toll is the highest during the entire pandemic. In all, nearly 24,000 people have died from covid-19 in Chile. This according to the website Worldometer.
– We are very concerned about the spread of covid-19, especially because we have now received cases of the Brazilian and British mutant virus, says Chile’s Minister of Health Enrique Paris.
The new wave of infections has led to a new, serious crisis at the hospitals. Caritas director Lorenzo Leon fears that the situation will get even worse.
– What we see is a collapse in the hospital system. 95 percent of the capacity is occupied, and the tendency is for the infection to increase, he says in the interview with NRK.
The new corona wave led to a sad Easter for the Chileans. The capital Santiago and several other areas experienced full closure. 70 percent of the country’s inhabitants live with new and stricter infection measures.
But despite the setback, Chileans are now talking about a “last resort” before the vaccine can give them a better life.
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