If the spread of COVID-19 continues at current rates it will be years before the virus is controlled in the Americas, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday, as it called for countries to share excess vaccine doses.
“If current trends continue, the health, social and economic disparities in our region will grow even larger, and it will be years before we control this virus in the Americas,” Etienne mentioned.
PAHO serves as a regional office for the World Health Organization (WHO) and its member states embrace all 35 nations within the Americas. The US has been the worst-hit nation when it comes to coronavirus-related deaths, adopted by Brazil and India, as per the official figures. While the US has taken management with an aggressive vaccination drive, Brazil continues to report a whole lot of deaths as a result of an infection day after day
Just 10% of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean have been fully vaccinated, with a particularly acute situation in Central American and the Caribbean.
PAHO is thankful to the United States, Spain and Canada for promises to donate millions of doses or funding, but more needs to be done, the director said.
“We hope other countries – particularly those with excess doses – and global financial institutions will follow in their footsteps to provide the support we need,” Etienne said. “Vaccine donations are essential in the short-term.”
Ahead of the kick-off of the Copa America soccer tournament in Brazil on Sunday, Ciro Ugarte, PAHO’s Director of Health Emergencies, said countries hosting mass events should consider postponing if COVID-19 risks cannot be controlled.