Poorer nations need help on vaccines: Colombia's Duque

Although processes such as the COVAX mechanism - coordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO) - can help poorer countries to secure some vaccine doses, the scheme has limitations, Duque said.

"The only way the world can have herd immunity is once we have all gone through a massive universal and equitable process of vaccination," he said in an interview for the Reuters Next virtual forum.

Colombia, which has reported more than 1.8 million coronavirus infections and 46,451 deaths from COVID-19, has so far secured some 49 million vaccine doses, enough to inoculate some 29 million people.

The Andean country has agreed to buy 10 million doses each of the joint Pfizer and BioNTech, and AstraZeneca vaccines, as well as 9 million doses from Janssen, the pharmaceutical unit of Johnson & Johnson.

It has secured a further 20 million doses via COVAX. Colombia is due to start its vaccination program against COVID-19 in February.