Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director Dr. Carissa Etienne has sent a special message to the millions of adults in the Caribbean who have yet to receive their COVID-19 vaccines.
“Please don’t delay, get vaccinated today,” the Dominica-born public health expert urged.
Etienne asserted that COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and the best way to protect individuals, families, and communities from the COVID-19 virus.
“I am a medical doctor, wife, mother, and grandmother. I could not wait to get my vaccination, I was so anxious for the wellbeing of myself and my 95-year old mother,” Dr. Etienne said.
Shifting to the COVID-19 situation in the region, the PAHO Director reported that the rise in infections appears to be slowing down in places hit earliest by the Omicron variant.
North America reported most new cases, but surges continue across Central and South America while deaths increased by nearly one-third in all sub-regions.
Deaths have more than doubled in Cuba, the Bahamas, and Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean.
And other islands, including Martinique and Guadeloupe, are seeing the virus spread rapidly among young and unvaccinated populations.
“These trends show that we must continue to sustain every part of our COVID response,” Dr. Etienne said.
“Vaccinations, testing, and continuing public health measures like mask-wearing and social distancing remain crucial,” she declared.