Colombia approves emergency use of AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

FILE PHOTO: A test tube labelled "vaccine" in front of an AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken, September 9, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia has approved emergency use of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine, the director of the food and drug regulator INVIMA said as part of a government address on Tuesday.

Colombia has secured vaccine agreements with a raft of pharmaceutical companies and the World Health Organization-backed COVAX program.

“Once more in record time ... INVIMA has approved the authorization for the emergency use of pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca’s vaccine,” Julio Aldana, INVIMA’s director general, said in a nightly televised program presented by Colombia’s President Ivan Duque.

Colombia is awaiting some 61.5 million vaccine doses, which will allow it to inoculate about 32.5 million people. This includes 10 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, enough for 5 million people.

Colombia has reported over 2.2 million coronavirus cases, as well as close to 60,000 deaths. So far it has administered just under 50,000 vaccine doses.

Reporting by Oliver Griffin; editing by Grant McCool