Americas Face Unvaccinated Pandemic, Says PAHO, Health News, ET HealthWorld
By Julia Symmes Cobb
BOGOTA: The Americas are facing an unvaccinated pandemic, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday, as it warned that countries with low inoculation rates saw an increase in COVID-19 and reiterated a call for donations of vaccines.
“We are facing an unvaccinated pandemic, and the only way to stop it is to expand immunization,” PAHO director Carissa Etienne said in a weekly briefing. “Vaccines are essential, even if no vaccine is 100% effective.
Only 15% of people in Latin America and the Caribbean have been fully immunized, she said, adding that this figure masks the fact that some countries like Honduras and Haiti have yet to reach even 1% immunization. .
Etienne reiterated an appeal to countries with enough doses to distribute them as quickly as possible to needy countries.
“We clearly need more vaccines and we need them now,” she said. “Right now, donated vaccines are really the only way many countries in our region can get the doses they need quickly. ”
“Please don’t wait until you have excess doses. You have to share what you have now,” Etienne said.
The start of vaccinations in Haiti – which sank further into turmoil after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise – shows how ready countries are to receive donated vaccines, she added.
The COVAX mechanism will send an additional 3.7 million doses of vaccine to countries in the region until the end of July, PAHO Deputy Director Jarbas Barbosa said.
PAHO is working closely with the United States to overcome the logistical challenges associated with the delivery of donations, he added.
The Americas reported 967,000 new cases and 22,000 deaths last week, Etienne said, a slight weekly drop.
Cases are accelerating in much of Central America and on the small Caribbean islands, she said, while cases and deaths increase in Cuba and hot spots persist in the Amazon regions of Colombia and Peru.