Posted: Thursday, July 8, 2021. 3:39 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Four countries – the United States, Canada, Chile and Uruguay – account for most of the 600 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine distributed this year, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
But Director Carissa F. Etienne called for increased supplies of COVID-19 vaccines for the Americas, noting that “Millions of people in Latin America and the Caribbean still don’t know when they will have a chance to be immunized.”
One in four people in the Region “have been fully immunized and over 600 million doses have been administered in the Americas. However, over half of these doses have been applied in just one country, the United States,” according to Dr Etienne. Chile and Uruguay have around 50 percent of their population fully immunized and Canada has covered over 30 percent.
But at the weekly press briefing, the Director said some Central and South American countries hit particularly hard by the pandemic have yet to access enough vaccines for even three percent of their populations.
The call for countries who have an abundance of vaccine supply to share with those less fortunate is starting to resonate, with the U.S. contributing 60 million doses and Japan 11 million to the next allocation of COVAX-procured vaccines, numbering 143 million. The region has collectively already distributed 24 million doses.
“While we must rely on donations in the short-term, we are already planning for a future scenario in which more supply will be available. PAHO is mapping the demand deficit from our Member States to determine how the Revolving Fund can support countries to meet their future goals with COVID vaccines and other supplies, such as syringes and cold chain equipment,” Dr Etienne added.
Dr Etienne also cited the events in Haiti leading to the death of President Jovenel Moise, saying, “PAHO wishes to extend its condolences to his family. We also want to express solidarity with the Haitian people in these uncertain times and reiterate our commitment to advance the country’s health and development. Our organization has a long history of working in Haiti, hand-in-hand with local authorities, health professionals and communities through our country office in Port-au-Prince. We continue to stand with them now and will redouble our efforts.”
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