I have “hope” of living, says the first Panamanian fully vaccinated against covid-19

First modification: 18/02/2021 – 00:12Last modification: 18/02/2021 – 00:10

Panama City (AFP)

The second dose gives me “hope” to stay alive and continue treating patients affected by the pandemic, said this Wednesday the Panamanian nurse Violeta Gaona, the first person in the Central American country to be fully vaccinated against covid-19.

“I am very satisfied because it already assures me a little more hope to stay here alive and continue caring for patients,” said Gaona, a nurse in charge of an intensive care unit at the Santo Tomás public hospital.

“That they do not feel afraid, that they come with enthusiasm, which is for the well-being of all, not only personal if not the entire country,” added Gaona, who on January 20 became the first person in Panama to be vaccinated against covid-19.

Now, with the second dose of the vaccine from the US-German alliance Pfizer / BioNtech, Gaona recalls that before getting vaccinated he was never afraid of catching the new coronavirus because he fully trusted the biosecurity measures he has been adopting.

“Now with the vaccine in its entirety, let’s hope that this pandemic will disappear from our country,” he said.

Panama received 67,860 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine against covid-19 at dawn this Wednesday. This shipment adds 80,700 doses from this company, which had already delivered 12,840 doses to the Central American country on January 20.

The country expects to have at least 5.5 million vaccines from three multinational companies (Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson) and from the Covax mechanism, created by the World Health Organization to guarantee an equitable distribution of doses.

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The Panamanian authorities are projected to receive 450,000 doses from Pfizer during the first quarter of the year, out of a total order of 3 million, and 216,000 from AstraZeneca.

In addition, the government plans to acquire an additional two million of the Pfizer product and three million of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V.

With this Wednesday’s shipment, the authorities will continue to vaccinate health personnel, those over 60 years of bedridden and people with disabilities over 16 years of age.

Panama has the highest number of COVID-19 infections in Central America, with more than 333,000 accumulated cases and 5,655 deaths, for a country of 4.2 million inhabitants.

However, it has overcome the second wave of the pandemic and has gone from an average of 30% positivity in COVID-19 tests in December to 12% today.

Meanwhile, Gaona, proud of having been the first person to complete the vaccination process, assures that in the first dose she only had “a little pain” in the injected area.

With the second dose, “suddenly I have some other kind of discomfort, fever, headache, but I hope that happens” quickly, he added.

jjr / gma

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