Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director Carissa F. Etienne warned that 75% of Latin American and Caribbean population has yet to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and reported that PAHO is speeding up its drive to expand vaccine access throughout the region.
¨More than a third of countries in our region have yet to vaccinate 20% of their population. And in some places, coverage is much lower,¨ she regretted.
Dr. Etienne said that in total, 540 million Covid-19 vaccine doses must be delivered to ensure that all Latin America and Caribbean can cover at least 60% of their population.
In response to the shortage, PAHO has launched a fresh drive for donations. ‘We are working to draw the attention of developed countries to the urgent need to donate vaccines to Latin America and the Caribbean,’ Dr. Etienne said.
‘We are also thinking ahead and making plans to significantly improve regional vaccine manufacturing capacity,’ Dr. Etienne said. ‘Just last week, we launched a new platform that convenes partners around a shared vision of boosting state-of-the-art vaccine production in Latin America and the Caribbean.’
Dr. Etienne pointed out that the Americas imports 10 times more pharmaceutical products than it produces, and that dependence makes them more vulnerable.
In her opinion, limited Covid-19 vaccine production and uneven distribution compromise the response to the pandemic in the region and put public health at very high risk.
Leaders of global financial institutions, governments and health organizations meet to discuss the platform, which aims to promote research and incentive for the development and manufacture of health technologies.
pgh/Pll/oda / rbp