Panama halves rollout time for planned booster program – Metro US

Panama halves rollout time for planned booster program

COVID-19 vaccination in Panama City
COVID-19 vaccination in Panama City

PANAMA CITY (Reuters) – Panama will cut the rollout time for COVID-19 vaccine booster doses in half, the government said on Tuesday, a day after the Central American country said it had detected its first case of the Omicron variant of the virus.

A third vaccine dose will be administered in three months, instead of the six months planned previously, President Laurentino Cortizo said on Twitter.

“Vaccines save lives,” he said. “I approved reducing the time of the application of the booster dose to 3 months for the population 16 years and older in nationally authorized centers.”

Booster doses by U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer will be distributed regardless of whether citizens were previously inoculated with vaccines by Pfizer or AstraZeneca.

At least 6 million vaccines doses have been administered in Panama to its population of about 4.2 million people, according to government data.

To date, 90% of the target population in Panama has had at least one vaccine dose and 80% has had a second dose.

(Reporting by Milagro Vallecillos, writing by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Aurora Ellis)