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PAHO Director reassures countries that COVID-19 vaccines are effective despite variants of concern

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Posted: Thursday, July 1, 2021. 1:31 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: According to Director of the Pan American Health Organization, Dr. Carissa Etienne, the impact of variants of concern of COVID-19 on the effectiveness of vaccines “has been minimal,” making it even more important to improve access to them for the region.

Dr. Etienne told reporters at her weekly media briefing, “Very few places are benefiting from the full potential of vaccines as there is a huge access gap in our region. This is unacceptable, and the emergence of variants makes it even more urgent that we accelerate supply to the places with the highest transmission.”

She added that PAHO has been tracking COVID-19 virus variants since June 2020, when it created the Genomic Surveillance Regional Network. The network has shared more than 52,000 viral sequences from Latin America and the Caribbean and continues to monitor variants of concern in 43 countries and territories that have detected the Alpha variant.

So far, 18 countries have reported cases of the Beta variant; 29 countries have reported cases of the Gamma variant, and 14 have reported cases of the Delta variant, including Argentina, Aruba, Brazil, Canada, Chile, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mexico, Puerto Rico, USA, Barbados, Peru and Sint Maarten, Dr Etienne detailed.

 

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