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Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals

Sinovac, Pfizer/BioNtech COVID-19 vaccines prove highly effective in Uruguay -government

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A healthcare worker stands during the first stage of COVID-19 vaccination plan, which aims to inoculate teachers, military personnel, firefighters and police officers, among other non medical essential workers, at a vaccination center in Antel Arena, Montevideo, Uruguay March 1, 2021. REUTERS/Mariana Greif

ASUNCION, June 8 (Reuters) - Uruguay on Tuesday released real-world data on the impact of Sinovac Biotech's (SVA.O) COVID-19 vaccine among its population that showed it was over 90% effective in preventing intensive care admissions and deaths.

The shot reduced deaths by 95% and intensive care admissions by 92%, and also showed 61% efficacy in cutting coronavirus infections, the government said.

A total of 795,684 people - health workers and members of the general population between the ages of 18 and 69 - at least 14 days after receiving their second dose of Sinovac's CoronaVac were compared to unvaccinated people to determine the real-world vaccine effectiveness, the government said in a report.

The government also studied the effectiveness of the Pfizer/BioNTech (PFE.N), vaccine among 162,047 health workers and people over 80 years old. The shot was 94% effective at preventing intensive care unit admissions and deaths, and reduced infections by 78%, the report said.

Overall, intensive care hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 dropped by more than 90% among Uruguayans who were fully-inoculated, the data showed.

The tiny Latin nation with a population of 3.5 million managed to largely hold COVID-19 at bay with a strict lockdown last year. This year, it has seen a spike in cases that in recent weeks propelled it to the ranks of countries with the highest COVID-19 death rates per million, according to Our World in Data figures.

So far, it has vaccinated almost 52% of its population with at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine from Sinovac, Pfizer/BioNTech or AstraZeneca (AZN.L), received through the COVAX vaccine alliance, while 29% had been fully vaccinated, between the end of February and June 1, according to Ministry of Health data.

Uruguay has registered 318,783 cases of COVID-19 since March 2020 and 4,692 associated deaths.

Reporting by Daniela Desantis, Writing by Aislinn Laing; Editing by Bill Berkrot

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