Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director, Dr. Carissa F. Etienne has declared that COVID-19 vaccine acceptance is high in Latin America and the Caribbean, where people are eager for a chance to get vaccinated.
And Etienne has asserted that vaccines are urgently needed in the region.
“I want to be clear that the primary issue in the Americas is vaccine access, not vaccine acceptance,” she said at her regular press briefing last week.
“Across Latin America and the Caribbean, we have a long legacy in immunization and trust in the life-saving power of vaccines,” Etienne stated.
“Once new doses are available, countries are ready to distribute them as quickly as they arrive and PAHO will work tirelessly to get vaccines to every corner in our region, until this pandemic is behind us,” the PAHO Director explained.
Following the G7 nations’ promise to donate 1 billion vaccine doses to countries in need, Etienne urged them to prioritize Latin America and the Caribbean.
“Those countries that are suffering the most should be at the front of the line,” she said.
But Etienne pointed out that only one in ten people in Latin America and the Caribbean have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
At the same time, she observed that the region has a population of more than 600 million people where cases are mounting, hospitals are full, and variants are rapidly circulating.