Coronavirus vaccine reaches Antarctica

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Mar 18 2021 10:57 AM

Coronavirus vaccine reaches Antarctica 1
A health-care worker transports a cooler containing doses of Sinovac's CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine at a Chilean Air Force base in Antarctica, Chile, March 14, 2021. Chilean Air Force, Handout/Reuters

SANTIAGO, Chile - The coronavirus vaccine has reached Antarctica after Chile immunized 49 people on the continent, the South American country's air force said Wednesday.

Chile's immunization program has received many plaudits as authorities have managed to give 5 million people -- almost a third of the population -- at least 1 vaccine dose.

And on Sunday, it even started immunizing members of the armed forces and scientific researchers stationed at the Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva air base in Antarctica, with a further 53 people at the base set to receive their first dose in the coming days.

None of those vaccinated, all aged between 25 and 58, "have shown any allergic reaction of any type," Victor Videla, the doctor in charge of the immunization program, told AFP.

People stationed at 2 other Chilean bases in Antarctica are due to receive their first doses, but those were delayed by adverse weather conditions, Videla said.

Antarctica was one of the last places on Earth to be affected by the virus, but on Dec. 21, an outbreak was reported at a Chilean army base, with 36 people infected.

To protect the continent, all tourist visits to Antarctica were canceled, unessential personnel were evacuated and contact between the 40 international bases in the area was prohibited.

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