The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has cautioned against panic due to the Omicron variant with Director, Dr. Carissa Etienne calling for increased vaccination.
Etienne asserted this week that increased vaccination and public health measures ensure the best possible protection against the virus.
However, she observed that the region remains especially vulnerable, with just over half of people in Latin America and the Caribbean fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Experts are working to better understand Omicron, which the World Health Organization (WHO) has designated as a ‘variant of concern.’
The PAHO Director said that there are still many unknowns, and it is unclear whether Omicron is more transmissible than other variants or causes more severe diseases.
In the Americas, which reported 753,000 new COVID infections and over 13,000 deaths over the past week, Canada and Brazil have detected Omicron. But Etienne said that other countries would likely see the new variant in circulation soon.
While PAHO continues to track all variants in the region, the organisation says Delta remains the predominant variant in the Americas.