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Why WHO urges wealthy nations to prioritize Latin America for vaccine donations

RIO DE JANEIRO – World Health Organization urges rich nations who recently pledged to donate one billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine to prioritize Latin American countries with high levels of virus transmission and mortality.

Nine of the ten countries with most recent deaths as a proportion of their population can be found in South America or the Caribbean, where immunization campaigns for the most part have slow and chaotic starts.

Health professionals in the region are reporting an increase in the number of younger patients requiring hospitalization, and in several cities, intensive care units are almost full, according to Dr Carissa F. Etianne, director of the Pan American Organization. health, a WHO

About 1.1 million new cases of coronavirus and more than 31,000 deaths were reported last week in the Americas, most of them in South American countries where transmission remains unchecked.

Colombia set new death records reported three days in a row this week, culminating Tuesday with 599 deaths. Brazil is on the right track to hit the grim milestone of 500,000 total deaths over the next two weeks, and is reporting an average of more than 70,000 new cases per day. Although Chile has done one of the most aggressive vaccination campaigns in the world, it has not yet succeeded in curbing transmission.

Dr Etianne urged leaders in major industrial democracies to use epidemiological criteria to determine which countries will be the first to receive the billion doses of vaccine that the Biden administration and allied nations have pledged to distribute.

“While vaccines are needed everywhere, we hope that the G7 countries will prioritize the doses for the countries most at risk, in particular those in Latin America which have not yet had access to enough vaccines to protect even the most vulnerable ”, a- she declared.

WHO officials have said that focusing on countries where the crisis is most severe – including Colombia, Brazil, Argentina and Chile – makes moral and pragmatic sense. Large, sustained epidemics in these countries increase the potential for the emergence of more dangerous viral variants and border crossings.

“No region of the world is protected from further peaks in transmission,” said Dr Sylvain Aldighieri, responsible for Covid-19 incidents at the Pan American Health Organization. “No country or region will be safe until high immunization coverage is achieved.”

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