With 20 countries yet to reach the WHO´s year-end vaccination target of 40%, and the Omicron variant now detected in six nations in the region.
Over 782,655 new COVID infections and 10,950 deaths were reported in the Americas last week, yet just 55% of people in Latin America and the Caribbean have been fully vaccinated. In some countries, including Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, coverage remains much lower.
With 1.6 million doses of COVID vaccine arriving in the region this week and more expected to follow, it is crucial that “vulnerable groups like our indigenous peoples, the elderly and those with existing conditions that leave them at higher risk of severe Covid-19 should be first in line,” Dr. Etienne said.
While the region is “racing to get people protected from this virus,” the PAHO Director called for a long-term strategy that takes into account the duration of protection of the vaccines, their impact on different age groups, and the behavior of new variants.