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A journey through the management of vaccination against COVID -19 in Colombia: progress and challenges

Ornella Moreno

Ornella Moreno Mattar
Health Administrator,
MSc in Public Policy,
health economics lead

In April 2020 and anticipating that, once the first vaccine against COVID-19 was available, the dose requirements for all countries could exceed immediate production capacities, and an efficient intermediation process would be necessary in which countries would enter. of all the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) launched the COVID-19 Tool Access Accelerator (ACT) (1).

The ACT Accelerator seeks to bring together governments, manufacturers, scientists, the private sector, and civil society, with the goal of providing equitable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines. Specifically for this last component, The COVAX mechanism was implemented, as a global solution to ensure that people in all countries of the world have access to available COVID-19 vaccines, regardless of their income level (2).


On December 2, 2020, ten months after COVAX was created, the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine was the first to receive approval (by the UK). (3) Later Modern, AstraZeneca, Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) , Sinovac-Coronavac and Sinopharm, among others, began to join this group of laboratories that offer the most anticipated intervention to attend this pandemic in the world; but they have not been the only ones, By early 2021, there were more than 200 experimental vaccines in development, of which more than 60 were in the clinical phase. (4).


In Colombia, on February 17, 2021, two and a half months after the announcement of the authorization of the first vaccine, the vaccination plan began, consisting of two phases and five stages (See figure 1). Since this plan began and until October 10, 2021, according to the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, 43,007,596 doses have been applied, 18,593,793 schemes have been completed, and 30,584 booster doses have been applied (5) .


Figure 1. Stages of vaccination in Colombia


In light of the diversity of suppliers and taking into account the great demand for vaccines in the world, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection has acquired vaccines through several direct agreements with laboratories, but also through the COVAX mechanism.


The distribution by supplier of the vaccines acquired and received in Colombia is as follows:


  • Pfizer: 15,000,570 doses acquired, 14,527,890 doses received.
  • AstraZeneca: 9,984,000 doses acquired, 5,992,560 doses received.
  • Janssen: 9,000,000 doses acquired, 3,314,700 doses received (plus 2,500,000 doses donated).
  • Modern: 10,000,000 doses acquired, 3,061,160 doses received (plus 3,500,000 doses donated).
  • Sinovac: 12,000,000 acquired doses, 12,000,004. doses received.
  • COVAX: 20,353,200 doses acquired, 5,373,780 doses received.
    • COVAX Pfizer: 1,209,780.
    • COVAX AstraZeneca: 2,066,400.
    • COVAX Sinovac: 2,097,600.


These figures are reported by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection in the data board of the National Vaccination Plan with a cut-off date of October 10, 2021 (6).


From the review of figures it is striking that, although at present 30% of the doses of Moderna have been received, whose vaccine requires two doses, by September 28 only 8,39% of the acquired doses had been received (839,220 doses). The WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization recommends that Moderna's vaccine be administered in a schedule with two doses separated by 28 days apart, if necessary, the interval between doses can be extended to 42 days (7 ). However, in Colombia, as a consequence of the shortage of the vaccine presented in August, this maximum time doubled to 84 days.


Despite the supply difficulties that some vaccines have presented, and the still latent refusal of citizens to receive the vaccine, the National Vaccination Plan has shown important progress seven months after its inception, achieving that 37% of the country's population have the complete vaccination schedule. In Bogotá specifically, according to data from the Mayor's Office, as of September 29, 2021, the 50% of the population has the complete vaccination scheme (8).


Although the country lacks the 63% of the population to complete its scheme, the government is still waiting to receive more than 24 million vaccines already purchased, according to figures reported by the Ministry of Health (6). It is clear that, under this scenario, Colombia will not achieve sufficient coverage until mid-2022.


All this happens when several countries, including Colombia, have already decided to go ahead with the administration of a third booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for their citizens in the coming months.


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1. World Health Organization. Accelerator of access to tools against COVID-19 [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2021 Sep 28]. Available from: https://www.who.int/es/initiatives/act-accelerator

2. World Health Organization. COVAX: Collaboration for Global Equitable Access to COVID-19 Vaccines [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2021 Sep 28]. Available from: https://www.who.int/es/initiatives/act-accelerator/covax

3. World Health Organization. WHO publishes its first validation for emergency use of a vaccine against COVID-19 and emphasizes the need for equitable global access [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2021 Sep 27]. Available from: https://www.who.int/es/news/item/31-12-2020-who-issues-its-first-emergency-use-validation-for-a-covid-19-vaccine-and -emphasizes-need-for-equitable-global-access

4. World Health Organization. Vaccines against COVID-19 [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2021 Sep 27]. Available from: https://www.who.int/es/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/covid-19-vaccines

5. Ministry of Health and Social Protection. National Vaccination Plan against Covid-19. Vaccination against COVID-19. 2021.

6. Social M de S y P. National Vaccination Plan [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2021 Sep 30]. Available from: https://app.powerbi.com/view?r=eyJrIjoiYjVmNDQ0ZTMtMzhlYi00NTcyLTg5NzAtMjU3NDVjNTZlNGQ2IiwidCI6IjFjMjBkMDU2LWIzZTQtMzhlYi00NTcyLTg5NzAtMjU3NDVjNTZlNGQ2IiwidCI6IjFjMjBkMDU2LWIzZTQtNGYwjMyT02LWIzZTQtNG12WjMyT2LWIzZTQtNG12WjMyM059CYPageMjBKMDU2LWIzZTQtNG12WjMyT059CiPageMozTQtNGYwjMyT059CyLWiZTQtNG12MjMJNy1hPAGE

7. World Health Organization. Moderna's vaccine against COVID-19 (mRNA-1273): what you need to know [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2021 Sep 29]. Available from: https://www.who.int/es/news-room/feature-stories/detail/the-moderna-covid-19-mrna-1273-vaccine-what-you-need-to-know?gclid = Cj0KCQjwwNWKBhDAARIsAJ8HkhefAX7zoqyzoEsbhCUWWXGEuExEIN7bUSyv68Nb6zJE6Ef6agz6CGQaAh0FEALw_wcB

8. Bogota City Hall. Vaccination against COVID-19 in Bogotá DC [Internet]. Health Data. 2021. Available from: https://saludata.saludcapital.gov.co/osb/index.php/datos-de-salud/enfermedades-trasmisibles/covid-19-vacunometro/

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