PAHO Director warns of COVID-19 rise in America – PAHO / WHO

As COVAX delivers 2.2 million doses of vaccine and issues arise, a situation is described as an “active public health emergency”

Washington, DC March 23, 2021 (PAHO) – Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director Carissa F. Etienne suggested that more than 2.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines received through COVAX came in but warned that the virus is dangerous compliance in many countries in the region.

COVAX, the global alliance to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, has helped deliver more than 2.2 million doses to the region to date, including more than 1 million doses. Brazil arrived hard on Sunday. More doses are expected to arrive this week in Suriname and Belize, with 1.2 million more doses received through COVAX.

But “the COVID-19 virus is not declining, and the pandemic is not starting to go away,” Dr. Etienne warned at her weekly press conference in the media. “Vaccines are coming but they are still several months away for most people in our area,” she said, urging people to continue to respect public health measures – faces stranger, hand washing and social distance – especially during the upcoming holidays. “People cannot lower their guard by communicating closely with others. ”

“Although scale-up work has begun, we know there is not enough,” she continued. “We still don’t have the vaccines we need to protect everyone. This is what happens when the whole world has to rely on too few manufacturers. We also need to find ways to distribute vaccines more fairly among countries. “

As the recognized supplier of COVAX in Latin America and the Caribbean, PAHO Recycling Fund negotiates, purchases and handles freight logistics on behalf of the 36 COVAX participating countries.

In the past week, more than 1.2 million people were infected with COVID-19 in America, more than in the previous week, and 31,272 people died from the virus, Dr. Etienne said.

The pandemic is particularly acute in South America, where sputum infection is reported in Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. ”In Paraguay, most ICU beds, and the health system is under pressure, ”said Dr Etienne.

“The virus is still spreading dangerously throughout Brazil,” she continued. “Cases and deaths are on the rise, and ICU bed occupancy is very high in many states. ”In nearby Venezuela, the disease is on the rise, especially in the Bolivar and Amazonas border states. Bolivia has reported an increase in cases in the Pando region, while “ICU bed occupancy remains very high in Loreto, Peru. ”

Pandemics are accelerating elsewhere in America, including Guatemala, where growing cases and hospitals are “tightening hospital bed capacity due to the number of patients getting in, ”said Dr Etienne. In the Caribbean, things are on the rise in Cuba, Aruba, Curacao, and Antigua and Barbuda. In Jamaica, things have been going up steadily for several weeks. In Canada, the state of Ontario has reported more cases in the past two weeks while the U.S. states of Minnesota and West Virginia have reported rising deaths.

“What I have defined is an active public health emergency,” Dr. Etienne said. “As viruses and hospitals rise,” she continued, “we need to increase the urgency of vaccination among our most vulnerable populations.”

More than 155.8 million doses of the vaccine, including the delivery of COVAX, have been introduced in America, and in the Caribbean and Latin America, vaccine campaigns are underway in 33 of the 35 countries. with support from PAHO. The group also supports the two countries, Haiti and Cuba, which have not yet started vaccination.

“The doses delivered are helping us to start protecting health workers and other vulnerable communities, and we expect more doses to reach each week,” said Dr Etienne, noting that acceptance of vaccines have been high. “These WHO-approved vaccines are safe, and they work,” she said. “When you have the chance, don’t be lazy. Get the vaccine. ”

Commenting on America’s long history of successful vaccinations against polio, measles, influenza and yellow fever, she said, “once our supply increases, there is no other area in the world. a world more prepared to deliver vaccines quickly and safely, ”she said. “Our health professionals have specialist knowledge of leading large-scale immunization campaigns covering diverse areas.”

“PAHO has been providing training and technical support to countries to strengthen their ability to monitor adverse events, which will be crucial when new vaccines are developed and introduced into the country. area, ”she said. “This is a remarkable achievement, and a credit to nations for making vaccination a priority and to health workers for their commitment to keeping our region safe.”

She also reminded the countries of the forthcoming March 24 World Tuberculosis Day, a global event to raise awareness of the devastating impact of TB and accept the WHO goal of eradicating the disease by 2050.

“We need to live up to our commitments to reduce the burden of TB in our region and around the world,” she said. “If there’s one thing I hope we take away from this pandemic, it’s the value of the power of health – and how good health is at the heart of society’s wellbeing…. Equal access to good health. That should be the focus for us. That’s how we end TB. That’s how we beat COVID-19. ”

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Daniel Epstein
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