To date, more than 1.6 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in PAHO member countries.
Pan American Health Organization Director, Dr Carissa Etienne, says this has resulted in just over 69 per cent of the region’s population completing immunisation schedules.
Speaking during PAHO’s digital COVID-19 media briefing, Dr Etienne said 17 member countries – including Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama, have passed the target of vaccinating 70 per cent of their populations.
The Director said while 40 states are over the 40 per cent vaccination mark there are still 11 countries that have not yet reached the target.
“I don’t want to diminish the fact that we are doing well in terms of numbers, but I daresay, not well enough. But I think we can’t ignore the fact that we still have 224 million people in our region who have not received a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine.”
Dr Etienne added that since March, 27 countries for which PAHO has age-linked vaccination data have reached a plateau.
“Our analysis shows that many countries are still not reaching enough of the older adults with vaccines. So, to protect our most vulnerable populations, we have to improve our outreach to older adults, and we need to get them vaccinated against COVID-19.”
Dr Etienne indicated that more than 1.3 million new COVID-19 cases were recorded across the Americas this week and 4,158 deaths.
This represents a 13.9 per cent increase in cases over the figure one week ago.
Dr Etienne also informed that deaths climbed in two sub-regions – South America, by 32.8 per cent, and the Caribbean, by 13.3 per cent – adding that the numbers serve as a stark reminder that too many people are still vulnerable; indeed, there is work to be done to reach all [who] need a vaccine.
“So, to protect our most vulnerable populations, we have to improve our outreach to older adults, and we need to get them vaccinated against COVID-19. We need to pick up the pace of vaccination to shield populations from the worst consequences of this virus.”
Dr Etienne further emphasised that in the context of evolving patterns of transmission, countries should be complacent
“Let’s reach out to all of our adults in this region and, increasingly, to our adolescents,” she added.
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