Doctors, nurses, emergency response personnel, those with serious illnesses and those over the age of 55 will be first in line to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, Ecuador’s Ministry of Health reported Sunday. In addition, some public and private employees with high exposure to the virus will also be included in the priority group. The ministry designated Cuenca, Guayaquil and Quito as the cities to receive the first vaccine shipments.
“We have chosen to begin the vaccination program in these three cities because they have the highest rates of infection,” Xavier Solórzano, Assistant Health Minister said. “We will vaccinate the most vulnerable groups in March, April and May but the schedule depends on the delivery.”
He added that the remainder of Ecuadorians, about half of the population, will be vaccinated in the second half of the year.
In addition to emergency response workers, workers also in the priority group are garbage collectors, prison and elder care center workers, teachers, and those involved in food chain services.
Those who have been infected and have recovered will be included in the second group.
Yet to be determined is which pharmaceutical companies will provide Ecuador’s vaccines. “We have been in discussions with Pfizer, Moderna and AztraZeneca and are waiting for the conclusion of their trials and subsequent approvals,” Solórzano said. He added that, in addition to other vaccine purchases, Ecuador will receive about seven million doses through the World Health Organization’s Covax program, which has yet to decide on vendors. “The WHO selection will be based on effectiveness and safety that is determined in the trials,” he said.
Also to be determined is how private doses of the vaccine will be provided to doctors and private hospitals and clinics. Solórzano says most doses will be administered through the public health and Social Security systems.
In a separate announcement, the Ministry of Health said it will launch a public information campaign in early 2012. “Of special importance is alerting the public to the fact that two doses of the vaccine are necessary to achieve immunity,” the statement said.