The sharp drop in U.S. COVID-19 cases is a “testament” to the importance of vaccines, according to the head of the Pan American Health Organization.
Although COVID-19 cases have generally declined in the America, the head of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has called for greater access to vaccines to fight infections and protect vulnerable health networks across the region.
On Wednesday, during a weekly briefing, PAHO Director Carissa Etienne said coronavirus-related deaths in the Caribbean islands of the Bahamas, Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago doubled in the past week.
Over the past week, PAHO said 1.2 million new cases of coronavirus and 31,000 deaths were reported in the region.
“We have seen COVID infections fall across the region over the past month, offering a setback to our besieged health systems,” Etienne said.
But he noted that occupancy rates for intensive care units in some parts of Brazil and Colombia are around 90 percent, “a sign that these communities still have a high risk of not receiving the care they need.” .
Brazil has been especially affected by COVID-19, recording more than 439,000 deaths, according to the United States alone, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
However, Etienne said the most dramatic change has been in the United States, where cases have dropped significantly after the country has advanced its vaccination campaign.
Just over 60 percent of adult Americans have it received at least one shot, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and 73% of those over 65 are completely vaccinated.
“The progress we are seeing in the United States is a testament to the power of safe and effective COVID vaccines, but it underscores the vital importance of accelerating access to vaccines throughout our region,” Etienne said.
More than 400 million coronavirus strokes have been administered in the Americas in general, but the “lion’s share” has been in the U.S., he said.
Etienne said “blatant gaps” in access to vaccines in Latin America and the Caribbean are a symptom of the region’s “over-reliance” on imports of essential medical supplies.
“We urgently need more vaccines for Latin America and the Caribbean, a region that has been to test for this pandemic “.
Etienne said only 3% of people in Latin America have been fully so vaccinated and stressed the importance of expanding the region’s capacity to make vaccines, rather than relying on the import of ingredients.
He said Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Cuba have well-positioned and well-equipped manufacturing plants produce COVID-19 vaccines.
“Fortunately, we have some of the basic components to achieve this: strong academic and research institutions, existing manufacturing capacity, robust regulatory systems, and an effective procurement mechanism,” Etienne said.
Brazil announced this week it hopes to receive enough ingredients from China’s COVID-19 vaccine to manufacture up to 25 million doses of AstraZeneca and Sinovac spikes.
In Argentina, which is experiencing an increase in coronavirus infections, the Reuters news agency reported that 18 percent of the population had been punched to date, while only 4.5 percent one hundred Argentines are completely inoculated.