The recent surge in Covid in Chile shows how vulnerable the UK is until we are fully vaccinated
What’s going on in Chile? How can a nation with one of the fastest vaccine launches in the world – no less the vaccine poster kid of South America – be hit so hard by a new wave of Covid 19? Chile recorded 49,542 new cases last week, the highest since the pandemic began. The deaths have also crept in again. Some have compared Chile to Israel, the vaccine superstar of the Middle East, where cases, hospital admissions and deaths have fallen sharply in the wake of its world’s best vaccination campaign. But it’s a wrong comparison; Apples and pears. Israel has fully vaccinated 56 percent of its total population, while Chile makes up only 20 percent. On the more flattering (but wobbly) single dose, Israel is 61 percent compared to Chile’s 37. The mix of vaccines the two countries use is also very different. Israel uses only the new mRNA vaccines, the launch of which is dominated by the powerful Pfizer push. Chile, on the other hand, is split up to 10 percent from Pfizer / 90 percent from Sinovac. This Chinese-made vaccine is more conventional, can be kept in a regular refrigerator, and has efficacy levels reported from studies ranging from 50.65 to 83.5 percent. It’s China’s equivalent to the Oxford AstraZeneca Jab. Worryingly, this lower number of 50.65 comes from the later stages of a trial in Brazil where the new P1 variant is now dominating. The same variant was discovered in Chile and should at least partially drive the new wave there.