Chile says preparing to start Pfizer COVID-19 immunization campaign

FILE PHOTO: Healthcare workers collect blood samples at a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing site in Lima, Peru October 31, 2020. REUTERS/Sebastian Castaneda/File Photo

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chile is getting ready to start an immunization campaign with Pfizer Inc’s vaccine against the coronavirus, if it wins approval, Health Minister Enrique Paris said on Saturday.

Next week, the state Institute of Public Health will review data on the performance of the vaccine, which is also expected to be used in the United States. Chilean authorities will make an official decision based on the review of that data.

“I cannot give you any dates, but we will make every effort ... to start the coronavirus vaccination program as soon as possible,” Paris said in televised remarks.

He encouraged people to keep wearing face masks and practice social distancing, considering that it will not be possible to complete the immunization campaign by the end of the first half of 2021. Some 15,846 people in Chile have died of COVID-19 so far.

Reporting by Fabian Cambero, writing by Hugh Bronstein; editing by Diane Craft