Colombia becomes the first South American Nation to receive UN backed vaccine shipment

A man wearing a protective mask, due to the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, walks among merchandise from informal traders after the mayor's office ended the quarantine in Bogota, Colombia

Colombia on Monday became the first country in the Americas to receive a vaccine shipment from the U.N.-backed COVAX initiative. The program is meant to ensure inoculations against COVID-19 for the world’s most vulnerable but has been hampered by limited global supply and logistical problems.

The arrival of 117,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to the capital city of Bogota came days after the one-year anniversary of the first coronavirus case discovered in the region.

The Pan American Health Organization said it expects to increase regional vaccine access through the COVAX effort. It plans to bring about 280 million doses to the Americas and the Caribbean by the end of the year.

Colombia — Latin America’s third-largest country by population — had already began inoculations and received its first vaccine shipment in mid-February.

The government has said it aims to vaccinate 35 million people this year, including hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan migrants and refugees who are currently living in the country.

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