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SANTIAGO, Chile, Feb. 10, 2021 (Reuters) – One Latin American nation hit the one million mark in COVID-19 vaccinations on Tuesday, putting the small but wealthy Andean nation at the forefront of the region’s inoculation drive on a per capita basis.

Chile’s health ministry said in a statement that 1,025,580 people had been vaccinated by late Tuesday evening, approximately one week after it launched an ambitious program aimed at first inoculating front line workers and the elderly.

Chile has set a target of inoculating around five million people – more than one-quarter of its population – by the end of March. The program is voluntary and free.

The country leads Latin America in per capita vaccinations, with 4.17 doses administered per 100 citizens through February 8, according to University of Oxford-based Our World in Data. Brazil and Mexico, both of which have begun similar campaigns, have each registered fewer than 2 doses per 100 people.

The South American mining giant moved fast and early to lock down vaccines, signing deals with U.S.-based Pfizer, British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca, U.S.-based Johnson & Johnson and China’s Sinovac.

The country was also the first in South America to begin vaccinating its citizens, with an early shipment of the Pfizer vaccine on December 24.

(Reporting by Dave Sherwood; editing by Jane Wardell)

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