Sunday, April 18, 2021

Opas says slow vaccination in Latin America favors the emergence of new variants

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As vaccines against covid-19 are helping to decrease infections in the United States, Canada and Mexico, but in Latin America vaccinations have barely started, which increases the risk of new variants that may threaten everyone, warned the Pan American Health Organization (Guide) this Wednesday.

“As long as Covid remains in one part of the world, the rest of the world will never be safe,” said PAHO’s director general, Carissa Etienne, in an interview about the pandemic situation in the Americas.

This week, Colombia became the first country to receive a batch of vaccines from Pfizer thanks to the Covax scheme led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Gavi coalition, which aims for equal access to the limited number of vaccines.

Peru is scheduled to receive vaccines from Covax next week, followed by El Salvador and Bolivia, Opas said.

Infections continue to fall in most parts of South America, but the Amazon basin region is facing a surge in Covid-19 that requires a rapid reaction, the WHO regional branch said.

Etienne said that the Amazonian states of Loreto, in Peru, Amazonas, in Colombia, and Acre, in Brazil, are witnessing the highest rates of infection and occupation of intensive care units in hospitals.

Brazil went on alert because of the number of states that overburdened hospitals due to a second wave of the pandemic, which started in the Amazon region and is complicated by new variants of the virus, according to PAHO.

The world will continue to face a vaccine shortage for most of 2021, and the quantities available are not being distributed equally, said PAHO.

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