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Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) turns spotlight on vaccination to hold off another wave of COVID-19

Posted: Sunday, March 20, 2022. 10:22 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is putting a renewed focus on expanding COVID-19 vaccination in the Americas, particularly among the most vulnerable, such as the elderly, the immunocompromised, health care workers and other high-risk groups.

Pan American Health Organization Assistant Director Jarbas Barbosa told the press, “COVID-19 infections and deaths are declining in most of our region, but there are still too many cases and deaths being reported every day – a clear indication that transmission is not yet under control.”

The Assistant Director also warned that the current rise in cases in other regions of the world should serve as “a cautionary tale” for the Americas. New infections have increased by 28.9 percent in the Western Pacific Region, 12.3 percent in the African region, and almost 2 percent in the European region.

“The virus puts us all at risk,” he added. “That’s why we must continue our efforts to close the equity gap and protect the most vulnerable with COVID-19 vaccines.”

Dr. Barbosa said that while many countries and territories are on track to reach the WHO 70% COVID-19 vaccination target, and eight have vaccinated more than 80% of their population, 21 have yet to vaccinate half of their population.

“We still have a lot of work ahead to improve our resilience to COVID-19,” he said.

Cases in the Americas reached 901,000, a 19 percent decrease from the previous week. However, hikes in cases were seen in Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean Islands, where cases increased by 56.6 percent.

Deaths fell by 18.4 percent to 15,523, with all subregions reporting declines – from a 6.9 percent drop in the Caribbean to a 27.9 percent decrease in Central America.

Since the virus arrived in the Americas two years ago, 149 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported and 2.6 million people have died.


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