Colombia launches its private vaccination scheme where the main consortiums in the country will start acquiring vaccines on their own and immunizing their personnel. It is expected that up to 2,000,000 people will soon be vaccinated under this scheme.
In the “companies for vaccination” campaign, 1.5 million doses were delivered to the private sector to vaccinate their employees.
“Great challenges require great solutions, and from this process remains the most important public-private alliance in Colombia’s history,” said Bruce MacMaster, president of the Colombian Businessmen’s Association (also known as ANDI, the country’s main business association).
ANDI also noted that in the business mass vaccination program, the private sector was able to acquire up to 2.5 million doses of SINOVAC, to vaccinate 1.25 million people.
One of the first to announce that it would start its vaccination scheme was the delivery platform Rappi. The company assured that it would start its vaccination scheme by immunizing 2,000 of its delivery contractors, known as ‘rappitenderos’ in Colombia: 1,000 in Bogota, 500 in Medellin, 250 in Cali and 250 in Barranquilla.
Although Rappi indicates that for the moment it will only vaccinate 2,000 rappitenderos, some lawyers have pointed out that the legislation would oblige the delivery platform to vaccinate all contractors in service, which would mean that Rappi would have to vaccinate around 20,000 people.
The legal imposition could end up discouraging Rappi and other companies that rely on contracting for the provision of services from assuming the costs of vaccination, because according to the professor of economic law at the Universidad del Externado, Daniel Monroy, the legislation allows an “all or nothing”.
The legislation that allows the acquisition of vaccines by private companies does not contemplate the sale of vaccines, so Colombians will still not be able to acquire the precious doses of Pfizer or Moderna in pharmacies.
Colombia will soon develop its own Covid-19 vaccine
On the other hand, the insurance company Sura, one of the largest insurers in Latin America, announced the creation of a company that will be dedicated to the development of biotechnology and medicines.
The insurance company will allocate US$54 million to create the necessary facilities to form a vaccine production center with the capacity to manufacture up to 100 million doses per year. The plant will have a space of 35,000 square meters and will provide more than 500 direct jobs.
“Different global institutions and health experts have repeatedly warned that the world must prepare for future pandemics, in order to deploy all human, technological and logistical capabilities to protect populations. Aware of this situation and seeking to protect life, at Seguros Sura we decided to invest in the creation of VaxThera, since this articulation will allow us to advance in biotechnology, as well as to develop and strengthen capacities that will turn Colombia into a determining actor for Latin America”, said Juan David Escobar, president of Seguros Sura.
The president of Sura also indicated that the company is working on the development of a vaccine against Covid-19, which is in the pre-clinical testing phase in Wisconsin and will be ready by 2023. This new vaccine will serve as a booster dose to prevent Covid-19. VaxThera will also focus on the development of vaccines against dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, influenza and Zika.