22:18 GMT04 March 2021
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    SANTIAGO (Sputnik) - The likelihood of COVID-19 becoming an endemic disease means the Chilean government cannot rule out future procurement of vaccines from Russian developers, Chile’s Under-Secretary for International Economic Relations Rodrigo Yanez said.

    "Chile has already procured vaccines for the population for the near future, but it is clear that vaccines from prestigious laboratories such as the Gamaleya Institute look very attractive given that this is an endemic disease," Yanez said to Sputnik.

    The diplomat confirmed that Chile is engaged in an exchange of technical and scientific information between the Russian institute, Chilean health authorities and regulators to obtain test results and vaccine research.

    "Having this information, we will be able to further discuss the possibility of supplies or costs, but at the moment, negotiations are being conducted at a general level," he added.

    Chile's authorities have reserved more than 30 million doses of vaccines to citizens from Pfizer, Sinovac, Johnson&Johnson and AstraZeneca laboratories, covering much of the country’s population. In addition, Chile is part of the international Covax mechanism.

    "By order of President Sebastian Pinera, we must consider all the alternatives that the country may need, including Sputnik V," Yanez said.

    Chile was the first country in South America to launch its national vaccination drive on 24 December. Authorities plan to innoculate five million people within the first quarter of the year starting with priority groups.

    The program is set to expand to cover 15 million people by the end of the second quarter, aiming for herd immunity given the country’s 19-million-strong population.

    Chile’s coronavirus tally currently stands at over 650,000 cases of infection and 17,294 deaths, as per the country’s Health Ministry.

    vaccine, coronavirus, COVID-19, Sputnik V, Chile
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