May 20. “Latin America must expand its vaccine production capabilities and bet on promising technologies, such as mRNA”, said Dr. Carisa Ettienne, Regional Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in a bold statement on Wednesday.
The statement highlighted the reduction in infections, hospitalizations and deaths from Covid-19 in the United States, which she attributed to the high percentage of the vaccinated population, and urged for the improvement of vaccine distribution throughout LATAM and the Caribbean.
60% of the USA population had a least one shot of a Covid-19 vaccine, while only 3% of Latin Americans are fully immunized against COVID-19.
Dr. Carissa Etienne was optimistic about the regional capacity to expand production, noting that Argentina, Brazil, Cuba and Mexico already have vaccine manufacturing capacity, some of which are being upgraded to produce the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine. But she urged going “much further.”
Dr. Etienne pointed out that PAHO is already working with WHO to share mRNA vaccine technology, and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Organization of American States (OAS) are in talks to guarantee financial resources and support to countries that want to expand their manufacturing capacity. Chile, Argentina and Peru have already shown interest in this initiative, she said.
Due to sustained community transmission in the vast majority of Latin American and Caribbean countries, Sylvain Aldighieri, PAHO’s Covid-19 Incident Manager, recommended that fully vaccinated people continue to wear masks in the region, a measure health authorities have lifted in the United States.
Source: Tico Times