Nearly every Central American country is reporting an increase in infections, with Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic being the worst hit and 137 COVID-19 cases reported in shelters for displaced people by the volcanic eruptions in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. In South America, he says, Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Uruguay and Argentina are the worst affected nations at the moment, while Mexico has seen a slight increase in cases following the Easter holiday and relaxation of some measures.
Etienne said that PAHO was concerned about the rise in “stealth rumors and conspiracy theories” in the region that risked a vaccine aggravation. Dr Ciro Ugarte, PAHO’s Director of Health Emergencies, said that because of a shortage of vaccine in the region, vaccine passports should not be considered as a mechanism to restrict travel, as it would complicate discrimination against those countries.
“Latin America is currently the region most in need of vaccines, this region should be prioritized for vaccine distribution,” he said. “This is a global epidemic. No one will be safe until we are all safe. ”He said PAHO had seen evidence that Venezuela’s second payment for access to vaccines through the COVAX initiative was in the process, and hoped it could be completed” as soon as possible “for drug delivery to 20% of the population , or 5.7 million people, to continue.
He reiterated a call for fairer distribution of vaccines, urging countries with surpluses to give to others who need them most. “PAHO is collaborating with technology companies like Twitter, Google, and Facebook to tackle fake news and make sure the public can easily find accurate information,” he said.
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. Etienne said so far COVAX has supplied more than 4.2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to 29 countries in the Americas, with 90,000 more due to arrive in Bolivia today.
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