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“We are going to have a real spring,” announced Uruguay’s well-regarded health minister Daniel Salinas this week.

What the minister meant that is by September—the southern hemisphere spring—seventy percent of the population will be fully vaccinated, that people can start to go about their daily lives freely, and importantly for many of you reading, he specifically mentioned the return of travel to Uruguay. Uruguay’s borders have been closed to everyone except residents with few exceptions since March 2020.

Salinas’ actual words (our translation): “My goal has always been spring, I have always said that spring is the date when approximately everyone will have two vaccinations (…). So I think that by spring we are really going to be in a re-emergence of society in its interactions, being face-to-face and receiving tourists.”

Vaccination numbers in Uruguay

By May 14,37% of Uruguayans had received at least one dose and 26% were fully vaccinated against coronavirus. The ministry of health provides an observatory online where data includes the number of people with appointments and the number of people on the waiting list. You can see that 40% of the population of the capital, Montevideo, has received at least one vaccination rising to 42% in Maldonado, the department where the holiday resort of Punta del Este is based.

What does Uruguay rank in the world for vaccinations

Despite alarming numbers of new cases since March, Uruguay’s vaccine campaign has been one of the world’s fastest since it started just twelve weeks ago.

Of countries with a bigger population than Uruguay, which has 3.5 million inhabitants, only seven have vaccinated more people proportionally than Uruguay: Israel, the UK, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Hungary, Chile and the USA.

Ramping up the vaccinations and addressing wait lists

The health ministry original plan was to have 70% of the population vaccinated by September vaccinating at a rate of 30,000 per day. However from this week, after receiving a new consignment of shots, the country is doubling that number, so it’s going to happen sooner. This is being achieved through opening additional vaccination centers.

The lack of availability of doses had limited operations but Uruguay went ahead and organised wait lists in the meantime. There are currently almost half a million people aged 31 to 70 on the waiting list. They should received their first doses by the end of this month. After that, everyone on the waiting list between the ages of 18 and 30 will be vaccinated between June 1 and 8.

Testing the efficiency of the vaccines

In line with its science-based approach to health campaigns, Uruguay announced May 13 an upcoming study to measure the effectiveness of the vaccinations. The goal is to measure the efficacy of each of the three vaccines available in the country comparing stated clinical trial results with the reality that vaccinated Uruguayans are living.


As soon as Uruguay confirms it can safely open for travel, you can be sure you will read about it here and we’ll be announcing it as it happens in our newsletter. Sign up here.

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