Chile’s vaccination campaign against the coronavirus has been one of the world’s quickest and most extensive, but a recent surge in infections has sparked concern beyond its borders.
Almost 40% of the South American country’s total population have now received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to statistics compiled by Our World in Data, reflecting one of the highest vaccination rates in the world.
Only Israel and the U.K, respectively, have inoculated a larger share of their population with at least one dose.
Nonetheless, Chile has endured a sharp uptick in coronavirus infections in recent weeks, even with its world-renowned vaccine rollout and strict lockdowns in place for much of its 19 million inhabitants.
The Pan American Health Organization’s regional director has since emphasized that for most countries in the region, vaccines won’t be enough to prevent rising infection rates.
The number of daily cases in Chile rose to a record high on April 9, climbing above 9,000 for the first time since the pandemic began and significantly higher than the peak of almost 7,000 recorded last summer.
On Thursday, Health Minister Enrique Paris told reporters that he hoped the surge in daily cases had now climbed to its highest point.
“Once we reach that peak, we expect not a reduction but a stabilization and then a return to smaller numbers of positive patients,” he said, according to Reuters.