More than one million people in Latin America and the Caribbean have died from COVID-19, prompting a warning from the the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), that the pandemic is far from over.
As a result, PAHO Director, Dr. Carissa F. Etienne wants the world to intensify efforts to improve the region’s access to vaccines.
“More than one million lives have been cut short because of COVID-19. This is a tragic milestone for everyone in the region,” Etienne said on Friday.
She warned that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over and hitting Latin America and the Caribbean severely.
Etienne noted that that the virus is affecting the region’s health, economies and societies.
Yet she disclosed that only about 3% of citizens have been vaccinated.
According to country reports, as of May 21, 2021, 1,001,781 people have died as a result of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Almost 89% of the deaths occurred in five countries: Brazil (44.3%), México (22.1%), Colombia (8.3%), Argentina (7.3) and Peru (6.7%).
Three percent of the deaths were concentrated in Central America and 1% in the Caribbean.
“The region is an epicentre for COVID-19 suffering,” the PAHO Director declared.
However, she expressed the view that it should also be an epicentre for vaccination as well.
She congratulated countries willing to donate tens of millions of excess vaccine doses.
But Etienne called on other countries to follow suit.
“We urge countries with extra doses to consider donating a significant portion of these to the Americas, where these life-saving doses are desperately needed and will be promptly used,” she has said.