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PAHO Director: COVID-19 vaccines will not be quick fix for Americas

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Posted: Tuesday, December 22, 2020. 5:37 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Carissa Etienne said that the COVID-19 pandemic stands out in scale and impact.

Etienne says that since the beginning of the pandemic, the region of the Americas has recorded about 31 million cases and 787,000 deaths.

“While we hope 2021 will usher a new chapter in our fight against this virus, protecting the millions of people in our region with COVID-19 vaccines will be a huge undertaking. So, we must be patient and remain realistic that COVID-19 will be among us for some time – so our work to control it cannot and must not stop,” Etienne said.

Etienne said that controlling the pandemic will require the region to heed to the lessons learned so far and address the challenges.

Etienne says that the Americas matched tragedy and adversity with determination and solidarity noting that PAHO assisted member countries obtain access to PCR tests, developed a laboratory network to detect cases in cities and rural areas, trained health workers, and assisted in delivering resources and support. The number of ICU beds in Latin America nearly doubled this year thanks to countries swift efforts.

“PAHO was able to support readiness assessments in more than 500 public hospitals in our region that helped shape country strategies against this virus. PAHO has led hundreds of trainings and donated millions of PPEs and diagnostic tests and issued more than 100 pieces of technical guidance to ensure that health workers understand the latest science and can access the latest tools they need to safely combat this virus,” Etienne said.


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