Since the arrival of the first vaccines in Chile in December 2020, the country has been internationally recognized month after month for the way that it has handled the pandemic in comparison to the rest of the world: heading up a global ranking, receiving global recognition, being at the cutting edge in studies and measures, boasting outstanding data or contributing with human talent to the fight against COVID-19.
This is a timeline of the major international milestones in Chile’s management of the pandemic, starting with the most recent -the renowned Franz Edelman Award in 2022 for Chile’s achievements in data analysis to battle the pandemic- and moving backwards to the day when the first vaccines arrived to kick off the successful vaccination campaign. It also includes contributions that Chile has made to the rest of the world.
2022 Franz Edelman Award: On April 4, Chile received the 2022 Franz Edelman Award given by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (Informs), the largest international association of data sciences, for its achievements in data analysis to respond to the pandemic. The award was given to the Universidad de Chile, the Health Ministry, the Science Ministry and Entel.
Highlighted in global normalcy index: Chile has shown the largest increase among countries in The Economist’s Global Normalcy Index, increasing 10.6 points among the countries that have been fastest in returning to the conditions of pre-pandemic life.
Lowest mortality: Chile had the lowest COVID-19-related mortality in South America during the first two years of the pandemic, according to a study published by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation of the University of Washington in the scientific journal The Lancet.
Platform highlighted in Nature journal: The pandemic data platform run by the Chilean Science Ministry and the Chilean scientific community was recognized by Edouard Mathieu, one of the members of the Our World in Data platform in the journal Nature.
Acknowledgments in the region: Paraguay thanked Chile for the shipment of 120,000 COVID-19 vaccines in 2021.
Economic performance during the pandemic: Chile was identified as one of the top five countries in terms of economic performance during the pandemic, according to The Economist.
Vaccination in animals: Chile is on the cutting edge as it begins the vaccination process for zoo animals at Buin Zoo, setting the trend for the rest of the world with this pilot project.
Fourth dose: Chile became the second country in the world to apply the fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. It began to apply this dose the month after Israel.
Best country to be in during the pandemic: Chile was named by Bloomberg as the best place to be during the pandemic as the Omicron variant swept through New Year festivities, out of a total of 53 countries measured in the COVID-19 resilience ranking. Days later, Bloomberg published an article entitled “The Factors in Chile’s Covid Success,” attributing it in large part to the successful vaccination campaign.
Most progress in booster administration: Chile became the country with the most progress in implementing the vaccine booster doses, according to Our World in Data:
Study of third dose: Thanks its swift vaccination campaign, Chile was able to develop one of the first studies on the effectiveness of a vaccine booster dose. Its results showed that this reduces the risk of hospitalization by up to 96%.
Best central banker in the pandemic: the then-president of the central bank, Mario Marcel, was chosen as the best central banker in Latin America for his exceptional achievements in helping to direct the economy during the pandemic.
Leader in vaccinations for minors: in September 2021, Chile approved the use of vaccines in children aged six and up. In November, Chile became the first country in South America to approve vaccinations for children aged three to six.
Chilean study shows effectiveness: a pioneer study conducted by the Health Ministry of Chile showed the effectiveness of the different vaccines applied in the country, showing that both Pfizer and Sinovac maintain high levels of effectiveness against hospitalizations and admission into Intensive Care Units (ICUs).
The role of former undersecretary Paula Daza: “The successful Chilean management of COVID-19 can be accredited to one woman, Paula Daza,” claimed international headlines after an interview that was reproduced in different media outlets.
Pioneering clinical trial at a concert: an event called “La Música Ensaya”, with 200 volunteers, organized by the Chilean Society of Musical Authors and Interpreters (SCD) and the Universidad de Chile, served as a clinical trial to measure the impact of musical performances on the spread of COVID-19. The results, measured a week later through an exit PCR test, showed that none of the attendees were infected.
The best performance in Latin America: According to an Ipsos poll to 380 opinion leaders in 14 countries in the region, Chile has shown the best performance in controlling the virus in Latin America (76%).
Varnish against COVID-19: the Chilean enterprise NanoService created a varnish that eliminates COVID-19 with copper nanoparticles.
Renca among global urban innovations: La municipality of Renca was named in the Bloomberg Philanthropies 2021 Mayors Challenge, as one of the top 50 global urban innovations emerging from the pandemic, for enlisting the wisdom of seniors to create community development projects and reduce isolation.
Detection of COVID-19 in asymptomatic patients: Rodrigo Young, a Chilean researcher from the Institute of Ophthalmology at University College London, created an innovative method for helping to detect COVID-19 in asymptomatic patients. His study was published in the journal eLife.
Device to measure the risk of infection: Chilean scientists from the Universidad de Chile created an instrument that measures CO2 in closed environments to assess the risk of COVID-19 infection.
Leader in vaccines administered: During the first week of March 2021, Chile led other countries in the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine per 100 inhabitants, according to Our World in data, a research initiative from the University of Oxford.
Fourth most transparent country in the world: Chile ranked fourth out of 100 countries around the world evaluated in the COVID data transparency index by TotalAnalysis, just behind Belgium, Norway and the United States.
Super-professor in the pandemic: Eduardo Parraguez, a Spanish teacher at the Padre Esteban Gumucio school in La Granja (Santiago), was named in an article published by the Spanish newspaper El País as one of the 10 super-professors in Latin America, for his creation of a radio program to replicate the connection between the school and students who were stuck at home due to mobility restrictions.
Pioneer research with alpaca antibodies: The prestigious journal Nature published the work conducted by researchers at the Universidad Austral de Chile to create a therapy against COVID-19 using alpaca antibodies, research they had been developing since April 2020. In April, the research proved that these antibodies fought coronavirus variants from Brazil, UK and South Africa.
Resilience against COVID-19: Chile led the ranking of the best places to be during the pandemic, according to The Covid Resilience from Bloomberg in January 2021.
First vaccines: The first 10,000 doses of Pfizer vaccines arrived in Chile, kicking off the COVID-19 vaccination process in the country. These first doses were set aside for medical personnel working to fight the pandemic. The mass vaccination began in February 2021, with the arrival of four million doses of Sinovac.
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