Latin America And Caribbean Countries Receive 40.5 Million Doses Of COVID-19 Vaccines To Date – PAHO

Latin America And Caribbean Countries Receive 40.5 Million Doses Of COVID-19 Vaccines To Date – PAHO

Approximately 40.5 million doses of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines have so far been donated to Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) member countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

PAHO Director, Dr. Carissa Etienne, said that approximately 79 per cent of these are direct bilateral donations, with the remaining 21 per cent being channelled through the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility.

Dr. Etienne said that over 8.3 million of the vaccines have been shipped and delivered through COVAX, with at least another two million expected through the facility in August.

She was speaking during PAHO’s COVID-19 digital briefing on Wednesday (August 11).

Dr. Etienne informed that approximately 86 per cent of the vaccines were donated by the United States of America (USA) with the remainder coming from several other countries, including Spain, Norway, Sweden, France, India, Mexico, Israel, and China.

She indicated that PAHO, through its Revolving Fund Facility, coordinates the delivery, logistics, and safe arrival of vaccines to the recipient countries.

“PAHO also provides technical advice and support in the entire process, including cold chain [equipment] and syringes, [as well as] meeting legal and regulatory requirements,” she said.

Dr. Etienne said that the organisation’s regional plan of action aims to ensure equitable and sustainable access to COVID-19 vaccines, in addition to the commitment through the COVAX Facility to provide 20 per cent of vaccines to 35 countries.

“PAHO’s goal is to procure enough vaccines to reach 70-80 per cent of the populations of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. This plan is part of the activities of the Revolving Fund, which has an important operational role in securing vaccines for our member states,” she added.

Dr. Etienne informed that the Revolving Fund also procures vaccines, syringes, and cold chain equipment for regional countries’ routine immunisation programmes, noting that these procurements totalled US$769 million in 2019.

She pointed out that despite extreme logistical challenges and increased transportation costs, approximately 24 million doses of seasonal influenza vaccines were secured for and delivered to PAHO member countries in the southern hemisphere through the facility between March and June 2020.

The Director said these provisions enabled the beneficiary countries to protect their populations and limit the influx of persons with influenza to health facilities.

While acknowledging that vaccine delivery during the pandemic “is a really complex operation”, Dr. Etienne assured that PAHO is putting its cumulative expertise “to good use” in procuring and deploying doses and providing technical support to bolster member states’ access.

“Access to vaccines is very important. We thank those countries [that] have donated vaccines, and we ask for more donations. But what is most important is that people get vaccinated, and countries utilise those vaccinations,” Dr. Etienne emphasised.

 

 

 

 

WRITTEN BY: DOUGLAS MCINTOSH

Source: JIS news

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