Posted: Monday, June 28, 2021. 9:30 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: The Governments of the United States of America, Canada and Spain have been praised by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) for their commitments to deliver COVID-19 vaccines and support their distribution in the region.
As of Sunday, the first shipment of 1.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine is programmed to be delivered to Honduras through the COVAX mechanism.
Director Dr Carissa F. Etienne stated, “We are extremely grateful to the U.S. for this generous contribution that will surely make a difference in countries that are suffering extreme hardship due to continuing COVID-19 transmission and deaths. Latin America and the Caribbean are the epicenter of this pandemic globally, and donations like these are the most effective path to get vaccines that are unavailable through the market to the arms of people that desperately need them now.”
Canada contributed $5 million to the design and operationalization of the COVAX dose sharing mechanism, and $50 million Canadian dollars commitment to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines in the region.
Spain donated 5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for the region.
“We are hopeful that the generous donations and support by the U.S., Spain, Canada and other countries will be followed by other developed countries in the world, so that we can expand access to vaccines as soon as possible”, Etienne emphasized.
Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are consistently reporting some of the highest case counts in cases and deaths around the world, with hospitals at their limit. Only just around 11 percent of the entire population of the Caribbean and Latin America combined have completed their vaccination schedule, with some countries still not being able to vaccinate more than one percent of their populations.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, over 1.2 million people have lost their lives and 37.2 million COVID-19 cases have been reported in Latin American and Caribbean countries. According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the number of poor people in the region had grown to 209 million by the end of 2020 — at least 22 million more than in the previous year — representing an unprecedented rise in poverty levels.
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