Latin America and Caribbean sees COVID-19 progress, but must remain vigilant

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Although there is reason to be optimistic, Dr. Barbosa urged countries to remain vigilant and continue public health measures, such as mask wearing, physical distancing and avoiding large gatherings. 

(United Nations News) More than half the population of Latin America and the Caribbean has not been vaccinated against COVID-19, a senior official with the regional arm of UN health agency WHO said on Wednesday. 

Dr. Jarbas Barbosa, Assistant Director at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), was speaking during the agency’s regular media briefing on the pandemic. 

He said nearly 44 per cent of the region’s people have been fully immunized, mainly with doses donated bilaterally or through the COVAX solidarity initiative.  

“Today, twice as many people in Latin America and the Caribbean are fully vaccinated against COVID than in August of this year,” he said.  

Meanwhile, infections and deaths have also reached their lowest levels in more than a year, with 800,000 new cases and 18,000 deaths reported over the last week.  

Although there is reason to be optimistic, Dr. Barbosa urged countries to remain vigilant and continue public health measures, such as mask wearing, physical distancing and avoiding large gatherings. 

“While our region has done a great job at accelerating immunisation coverage over just a few months, more than half of people in Latin America and the Caribbean remain unprotected,” he told journalists.   

“In Guatemala, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Jamaica, Nicaragua and Haiti, less than 20 per cent of people have been fully vaccinated.” 

Dr. Barbosa also pointed to “good news”, as more than three million vaccine doses are expected in the region this week through COVAX.  Deliveries are also set to increase over the remaining months of the year. 

Read more at: United Nations News

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