Why Ecuador vaccinates its population faster than the rest of the world

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Worker in Cuenca, Ecuador
Vaccination day in Cuenca, Ecuador

Just take a quick look at your phone and you will agree that good news is hard to come by in the context of the current health crisis in Latin America and the Caribbean.

That’s why we are particularly excited to see some encouraging developments -in this case coming from Ecuador.  

Only a year ago the collapse of the country’s healthcare system was making headlines around the world. Today, with its successful vaccination campaign, it is setting an example for countries in the region and globally.

Ecuador currently administers the highest daily number of doses per 100 people in the world.  To put it simply: in the time it has taken you to read this far, hundreds of people in Ecuador will have been be vaccinated against COVID-19.

With this surge in vaccinations, the government expects to inoculate 9 million people - half the country's population – in a mere 100 days by early September. So far everything suggests that the campaign is on course to achieve this goal comfortably: at the time of writing this blog, the vaccination rate is 200,000 people a day.

 

It is clear that the improved availability of vaccines -thanks to successful government attempts to procure them- and their efficient distribution are mainly responsible for this favorable scenario.  But there are also less visible, although equally important, reasons why the campaign can be considered to be a Latin American success story despite the adverse regional context.

Let’s highlight two of those reasons.

First, there is the immense effort put into planning and logistics, including meticulous coordination between the central and regional governments, the private sector, universities and international organizations. It’s worth highlighting the key role played by private companies, which provided valuable logistical support and resources.

These efforts resulted in a well-structured campaign with segmented "vaccination days" for state and private sector workers, students, and the general public. Special days were also set aside for vaccinating harder to reach groups, such as the indigenous, the rural and the migrant populations. Innovation also played an important role: the Electoral Register -  recently updated for the general elections – was leveraged to identify and contact people eligible for vaccination, while polling stations were used as vaccination centers

Second, there is the exceptional teamwork forged between Ecuador’s government (which showed firm leadership throughout the campaign) and the development organizations, resulting in unprecedentedly close collaboration between the World Bank, IDB, CAF, PAHO, WHO, UNICEF and other UN agencies,  which enabled them to share their vast joint vaccination expertise with Ecuadorian officials. 

It’s worth noting that the efficiency and speed of the vaccination campaign has given Ecuadorians renewed confidence, which in turn is playing an important role in the country’s economic recovery.

Also noteworthy is the fact that that none of the above would have happened so smoothly without the seamless transition between the incoming and outgoing governments, in the middle of the pandemic in May 2021, which reduced the uncertainty and delays that often arise from political changeovers.

Finally, we would not have such a good response from the population had there not been a strong focus on public communications, which is part of the solution in any crisis of this type and magnitude. 

We still have a difficult road ahead: in light of the new COVID-19 variants, Ecuador still has to urgently vaccinate several million more people.

However, we can say with certainty that with these first firm steps the country is beginning to turn the page on the pandemic, in an effort that deserves to be replicated in other parts of the region.

The World Bank Group is working very closely with the region in its response to the COVID-19 crisis - one of the most severe in the region’s history.  In fiscal year 2021, that commitment translated into a record figure of US$ 29 billion, aimed at containing the social, economic and health fallout from the pandemic, as well as helping to respond to challenges such as hurricanes and migratory flows.

Join the Conversation

Trish
October 04, 2021

Thank you

Eduardo Polit
October 04, 2021

let's make visible this invisible effort to the whole inhabitants

Higo Torres
October 04, 2021

Congratulations to the new goverment and to the citizens of Ecuador. An example for the whole planet!!!

Higo Torres
October 04, 2021

Congratulations to the new goverment and to the citizens of Ecuador. An example for the whole planet!!!

Alegria Plaza
October 04, 2021

Impressive

Guillermo Sosa
October 04, 2021

Ecuadorian bonds also trade the highest ytd.

Susana Zabala
October 04, 2021

I am so proud of being Ecuadorian

Cecilia
October 04, 2021

Thanks for noting the extraordinary efforts made by the government of "Dr." Guillermo Lasso our remarkable new President.
"Dr." because he is healing the wounds inflicted by desastrous administrations in the past.

IVAN BAEZ
October 04, 2021

As Ecuadorian I feel an excellent breath of relief with the new government leadership. Pandemia is a devil enemy but new government shown us to solve our crisis.

Raquel Rodriguez San Martin
October 04, 2021

Is excellent tha Government from Ecuador is looking after their citizens placing importance in saving lives.
My sister lives in Cuenca and I haven't heard from her. I don't know if she ,her daughters and grandchild got vaccinated which is very concerning.
I live in Australia