Posted: Thursday, February 18, 2021. 9:07 am CST.
By BBN Staff: The Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is calling for equitable access as the new vaccines for COVID-19 are cleared for delivery.
Through the COVAX program, the new vaccines are expected to reach the Americas soon.
Director Carissa F. Etienne called for overcoming barriers to ensure “fair and equitable access.”
“As we start delivering COVAX vaccines, and as we prepare for the steep scale-up ahead, we must be guided by our vision of fair and equitable access at every step of the way. We must overcome the structural barriers that prevent the most vulnerable from being immunized and we can only do that by working together,” Dr. Etienne said during her weekly press briefing.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued emergency use listing for 2 versions of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines.
That approval cleared the way for distribution to 37 countries in the Americas.
Those countries are all participating in the COVAX program.
Dr. Etienne also urged countries to be ready for the arrival of the vaccine.
“We urge all countries to act quickly, be ready, and save lives,” she said.
Dr. Etienne said readiness includes legal framework and training for delivering the vaccines.
PAHO continues to help countries prepare and calls for the vaccination of at least 70% of the population.
PAHO reports that cases and deaths have declined in the region.
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