Pledging that “no one will have special privileges, including me” for receiving Covid-19 vaccines, President Guillermo Lasso hosted a Monday morning news conference laying out the details of his vaccination program. The president said he was confident that there will be “sufficient doses” for everyone, announcing that 18 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine will begin arriving in June.
“This is a massive effort that we will carry out as an ethical imperative to serve the health of Ecuadorian citizens,” Lasso said. “It is not only a health and social program but one with huge implications for returning the country to economic health. We need children and young people to return to the classroom. We need workers to return to their workplace, to use public transportation, go to the cinema, to restaurants and to discos. We need parents to go out of their homes to the markets to buy food for their families with peace of mind and the assurance that their health is not at risk.”
Health Minister Ximena Garzón explained the details of the plan, saying that the vaccination schedule will be updated every Wednesday for the following week on the ministry website, https://lugarvacunacion.cne.gob.ec/. Other information and answers to frequently asked questions will be provided at https://www.salud.gob.ec/cronograma-semanal-y-preguntas-ciudadanas-plan-de-vacunacion-covid-19. In addition, those with questions can call 171.
For scheduling purposes, Garzón said that personal information of Ecuadorian citizens and legal residents over the age of 16 will be gathered from National Elections Council voting files and verified through the Civil Registry.
For foreigners not included in voting records, she said a web link will be provided later this week explaining how to register for vaccines. She estimates there are about 500,000 foreigners in the country, most of them Venezuelan refugees.
During the news conference, Lasso dedicated a moment of silence to those who have died of Covid-19. “We honor the memory of the tens of thousands of Ecuadorians who have died from this terrible pandemic, the family members and friends that we have lost.”
In comments after the news conference, Garzón emphasized that the vaccination program will continue after it reaches Lasso’s target of nine million Ecuadorians in 100 days. “Our full-fledged efforts will continue until everyone is vaccinated no matter if they fit into our 100-day schedule or not.”
She added: “When we finish, I expect a very high percentage of Ecuadorians will be vaccinated. We do not have the resistance to vaccines we see in some parts of the world. Our citizens follow the medical advice, not the whims of politics.”