Chile’s vaccination program against COVID-19 is set to start this Thursday 24 December in Santiago.

It will prioritize ICU staff from the capital as well as Bío Bío, La Araucanía and Magallanes, three regions in the south.

The Pfizer/BioNTech batch, sent from Belgium, arrived at 6.42 am.

It contained 10,000 doses. However, the Government had previously announced that Chile would receive 20,000 in the first shipment.

President Sebastián Piñera himself welcomed the white boxes and described the moment as “joyous”.

In the Metropolitan region, Chile’s most populous area, the Government set aside a third of the doses for workers in three of the capital’s hospitals.

The Pfizer/BioNTech agreement secured 10 million doses. The vaccine was already approved by the Public Health Institute.

La Moneda has also signed agreements with the Covax initiative and AstraZeneca-Oxford.

With those, the Piñera administration expects 22,4 million vaccines when the projects are greenlighted.