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Canada and PAHO join forces to advance COVID-19 vaccination 

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Posted: Thursday, May 27, 2021. 10:57 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Government of Canada is contributing $50 million Canadian dollars (US$40 million, BZ$80 million) in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to support the improvement of the health and protection of populations in situations of high vulnerability due to COVID-19.

The financial support is for readiness and access to COVID-19 vaccines for at-risk women, migrants, refugees, transient persons, Indigenous and vulnerable populations in areas where health conditions are typically precarious.

“This collaboration was born with the common vision that COVID-19 vaccines should not be a privilege but a right for every person, regardless of their ethnicity, economic condition, gender, migratory status or whether they reside in a city or rural area,” said PAHO Director Carissa F. Etienne. “Canada’s contribution will help Caribbean and Latin American countries make meaningful progress on access to COVID-19 vaccines for every eligible person, starting with the most vulnerable — most frequently women.”

Activities will include technical cooperation to strengthen all instances and stages of the COVID-19 vaccination deployment in Latin America and the Caribbean. This incorporates training for public health workers and health care professionals on equitable COVID-19 vaccine rollout, as well as comprehensive technical cooperation on regulatory and oversight processes, reinforcing immunization policies and vaccine delivery strategies, supporting vaccine procurement, logistics and cold chain challenges, strengthening communication strategies, and advocating for fair access and allocation of vaccines.

“Populations like migrants and indigenous communities move across areas and borders, and many times they do not have access to the health coverage they need,” said PAHO Director of Health Emergencies Dr. Ciro Ugarte. “By offering vaccines to transient populations, countries in the Caribbean and Latin America can deter additional burdens to their national health systems due to infections while mitigating further transmission of the virus. This alliance is pivotal to offer much-needed technical cooperation for a comprehensive response against COVID-19, to save lives and leave no one behind.”

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