Ecuador’s health authorities announced on Tuesday that on July 12 they will begin a mass vaccination program against COVID-19 for citizens between 48 and 16 years old, mainly with doses from the Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac.

The Minister of Health, Ximena Garzón, said at a press conference that from that date 48-year-olds will be immunized and for each day that passes, the age of the beneficiaries will decrease by one year.

In turn, he indicated that he has sent communications to the largest companies in the country to also inoculate their workers along with their families.

“We are sending offices from the different productive sectors to coordinate mass vaccination with them. We have determined some parameters that companies have to comply with in order to approach vaccines and administer them, we request that they support us with supplies,” he said.

He added that mass vaccination will be possible because Ecuador will progressively start receiving six million Sinovac vaccines from July and an additional million in August, while the doses from Pfizer and AstraZeneca continue to arrive.

President Guillermo Lasso, who is with the United States recovering from a spinal operation, thanked US President Joe Biden on his Twitter account because that country “will donate two million Pfizer vaccines for the vaccination process in Ecuador”.

Since mid-January, the Ecuadorian government has vaccinated doctors and health workers and those from strategic sectors, as well as the elderly.

President Guillermo Lasso, who took office on May 24, promised during the campaign to immunize nine million Ecuadorians in the first 100 days of his administration.

Given the reluctance of Ecuadorians to get vaccinated, which Garzón estimated at 25%, the minister said that “we are going to approach them with an adequate communication strategy so that they can overcome their fears and accept vaccination. We even have vaccination brigades with which we will carry out community sweeps”.

Since the start of the pandemic at the end of February last year, the country has registered more than 423,600 infections and 21,523 deaths.

More than 2.7 million Ecuadorians have already received the first dose and 1.3 million two doses.

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