‘A pandemic of the unvaccinated’: PAHO urges extra jab donations


Coronavirus infections are rising throughout a lot of Central America and on smaller Caribbean islands, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) mentioned on Wednesday, because it repeated a name for extra vaccine donations to assist hard-hit nations.

PAHO Director Carissa Etienne mentioned whereas Uruguay, Chile and Argentina – nations which have made appreciable headway of their vaccination campaigns – are reporting steep declines in new infections, instances and deaths are spiking in Cuba, Honduras and Guatemala.

The Amazonian areas of Colombia and Peru additionally stay COVID-19 hotspots, she mentioned.

“We face a pandemic of the unvaccinated and the one strategy to cease it’s to increase vaccination,” Etienne mentioned throughout a weekly briefing. “Vaccines are vital, even when no vaccine is one hundred pc efficient.”

Simply 15 % of individuals in Latin America and the Caribbean have been totally vaccinated, she mentioned, including that the determine obscures the truth that some international locations together with Honduras and Haiti have but to achieve even 1 % inoculation.

Individuals queue to obtain a dose of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in Mexico Metropolis, Mexico [Luis Cortes/Reuters]

Etienne reiterated a name for international locations with sufficient doses to distribute them as rapidly as potential to needy countries.

“We clearly want extra vaccines and we’d like them now,” she mentioned. “Right now vaccine donations are actually the one means for a lot of international locations in our area to safe the doses that they want rapidly.

“Please don’t wait till you may have surplus doses. That you must share out of what you may have now.”

The COVAX mechanism will ship 3.7 million extra vaccine doses to international locations within the Americas area via the tip of July, mentioned PAHO Assistant Director Jarbas Barbosa.

PAHO is working intently with the US to beat logistical challenges for supply of donations, he added.

On Tuesday, three million doses of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine donated by the US arrived in Guatemala, bringing to 4.5 million the variety of doses the US has despatched the Central American nation.

The Americas reported 967,000 new instances and 22,000 deaths final week, Etienne mentioned, a slight weekly lower. “These traits illustrate how COVID-19 stays entrenched inside our area, significantly in international locations with no vaccination protection,” Etienne mentioned. “And the unfold of variants solely make issues worse.”

A well being employee administers a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Port-au-Prince, Haiti [Ricardo Arduengo/Reuters]

Within the US, in the meantime, there may be concern over persistent vaccine hesitancy in some elements of the nation, in addition to fears over breakthrough instances amongst vaccinated individuals.

Simply greater than 68 % of adults within the US have obtained no less than one jab. However a number of states have reached the 40 % or extra mark. The state of Mississippi ranks final with solely 37.7 percent of adults having obtained no less than one dose.

Officers blame misinformation on social media and in current weeks have stepped up efforts to deal with the problem.

On Tuesday, White Home Press Secretary Jen Psaki mentioned a completely vaccinated White Home official examined constructive for COVID-19 off-site and had delicate signs.

She mentioned the official stays off White Home grounds pending further testing for affirmation. The White Home medical unit had performed contact tracing and interviews, discovering no shut contact amongst workers and President Joe Biden.

Psaki additionally mentioned there had been different situations of vaccinated staff testing constructive.

“We all know that there will likely be breakthrough instances, however as this occasion reveals, instances in vaccinated people are sometimes delicate,” she mentioned. “That is one other reminder of the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines in opposition to extreme sickness or hospitalisations.”

Over the weekend, six Texas Democratic lawmakers who have been visiting Washington examined constructive for COVID-19. Vice President Kamala Harris met the lawmakers final week however has since examined unfavourable, Psaki mentioned.

A senior spokesperson for US Home of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was totally vaccinated and got here in touch with the Texas lawmakers, additionally examined constructive. The spokesperson has had no contact with Pelosi since being uncovered to the virus, in line with the speaker’s workplace.

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