Jamaica, Haiti and St. Vincent and the Grenadines are among four countries due to receive more doses of COVID-19 vaccines through the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility.
The vaccines are expected to arrive in the next few weeks, as part of more than three million doses being dispatched by COVAX to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) this week for deployment to member countries that have, to date, vaccinated less than 20 percent of their populations against COVID-19.
Guatemala is the fourth country in Latin America and the Caribbean slated to get more vaccines.
PAHO Assistant Director, Dr. Jarbas Barbosa da Silva Jr., during Wednesday’s COVID-19 media briefing, said details of the latest vaccine provisions have been conveyed to the beneficiary countries to enable their preparations to receive and administer the doses, “and to make sure that [they] are able to protect their most vulnerable groups and save lives”.
He further indicated that vaccine deliveries are expected to pick up during the final months of 2021, “so we can continue to address one of the biggest challenges affecting our region – vaccine inequity”.
“COVAX has agreed that for November and December, vaccine allotments will be sent to the countries with the lowest coverage. This will ensure more protection for those countries. We are working, together with COVAX, to have these countries [prioritized],” the Assistant Director said.
According to PAHO data, nearly 44 percent of people in Latin America and the Caribbean have completed their COVID-19 immunization course.
“Thanks in large part to vaccine donations, made bilaterally or through COVAX, twice as many people in Latin America and the Caribbean are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 [now] than in August of this year,” Dr. Barbosa noted.
He pointed out that while more than half of the people in member countries remain unprotected, “our region has done a great job at accelerating immunization coverage over just a few months”.