In May, the governing body of South American soccer became the first civil organization to promote an immunization campaign, but how and to what extent has this process been completed? .
The vaccination protocol developed by CONMEBOL practically guarantees that each dose has a 'first and last name' and that they cannot be diverted or used in people who are not part of the objective of this campaign. Photo: Unsplash
LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano
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Leer en español: Tres meses después ¿qué ha pasado con las vacunas de CONMEBOL?
In May of this year, CONMEBOL received a donation of 50 thousand vaccines from the Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech Ltd., who transferred them at no cost to the Member Associations, thanks to an agreement between the organization and the Uruguayan government, led by its President Luis Lacalle Pou.
Said vaccination process to combat COVID-19 began with the national teams that played the Copa América and later the objective was to favor the clubs that would participate in international tournaments such as Copa Libertadores and Sudamericana, both male and female. Although in several cases it was fulfilled without problems, in others, the story has been different.
The first thing to say is that the 10 member associations assumed responsibility for its use and subsequent accountability. Since 2020, CONMEBOL has been added to the health protocols and with high efficiency, since 99% of the detection tests yielded negative results.
The Ministries of Health of each country keep detailed records of the people who receive the vaccine, while the General Secretariat of CONMEBOL and the Ethics and Compliance Directorate monitor in detail the entire process in which the 10 Member Associations allocated those doses. to duly identified persons.
The vaccination protocol developed by CONMEBOL practically guarantees that each dose has a 'first and last name' and that they cannot be diverted or used in people who are not part of the objective of this campaign.
¡Buenas noticias para nuestros amigos y amigas de Venezuela! Las vacunas contra el COVID-19 ya llegaron a ese querido país. Jugadores, jugadoras, árbitros, técnicos y asistentes tendrán una barrera más para protegerse de la enfermedad.#CreeEnGrande pic.twitter.com/P3LQoOuZmH— Alejandro Domínguez (@agdws) May 16, 2021
No guarantees to the Europeans
"It is the best news that the South American soccer family can receive, to which we owe our best efforts in CONMEBOL. It is a step forward to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic, but it does not mean in any way that we are going to lower the guard ", highlighted Alejandro Domínguez in the statement issued at the time by different publications, including Goal.com.
The positive is that they would reach about 25 thousand people and that in theory, European teams would have no problem giving up their players to play their knockout matches with their national teams. As you can see, the initiative is not all rosy. It should even be said for May, the Sinovac vaccine had not yet been approved in Argentina, for example.
Lionel Messi sent three shirts to the Sinovac managers in gratitude. “When announcing the 50,000 doses of vaccine for Conmebol, I want to tell you that the directors of Sinovac expressed their admiration for Lionel Messi, who willingly sent us three shirts for them. So, he is also part of this achievement ”, Gonzalo Belloso, Conmebol's Director of Development, posted in information reflected by The Washington Post.
In the particular case of the coffee nation, the Colombian Football Federation (FCF), recently requested collaboration from the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, as well as INVIMA to nationalize 5,080 doses of the Sinovac vaccine donated by Conmebol.
There was a significant delay in nationalizing the vaccines that caused great disagreement in the entities in the FCF: In this regard, the president of the FCF, Ramón Jesurum, indicated at the end of August that "After almost 5 months of procedures and procedures on our part They have not been authorized to enter the country. "
Finally, on August 26, the Ministry of Health approved the nationalization of vaccines.
But the situation became so anomalous that the Colombian teams that intervene on the international scene saw their players vaccinated in Paraguay as part of their trips to this nation for the commitments for Libertadores and Sudamericana.
Only in figures, Brazil was one of the most favored by receiving 9 national teams plus its own along with the rest of its delegations for the Copa América dispute last June and July. CONMEBOL resolved to deliver a total of 20,000 doses of the vaccine manufactured by Sinovac Biotech Ltd.
There is no publication that denies that the 20 thousand doses were not used correctly during the contest, the other detail is that of that aforementioned amount, just over 5 thousand would be distributed at the local level, with a plan organized and headed by the Brazilian government.
Ecuador and Paraguay cases
These two countries were the first to be favored with the immunization of professional soccer teams, even in one case, before the start of the Copa América.
The Paraguayan Soccer Association (APF) was the first entity of its kind to receive the doses. As reported by this entity, the squad of Club Sportiva Luqueño, of the Guaraní first soccer division, was the first to be immunized. Venezuela and Chile also promptly received and approved your donation.
¡Saludos, familia del fútbol chileno! Las vacunas para proteger a jugadores, jugadoras, árbitros, técnicos y asistentes ya se encuentran en tierra chilena. Son un complemento de los muy eficaces protocolos sanitarios vigentes en el fútbol. ¡Sigamos creyendo en grande! pic.twitter.com/2lKHA8MIcz— Alejandro Domínguez (@agdws) May 15, 2021