Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director, Dr. Carissa Etienne has called on countries in the Caribbean and Latin America to be extra vigilant due to the Omicron variant.
This week, she told a press briefing that the new variant does not necessarily mean that things will get worse.
So far, six countries in the region have detected the Omicron variant, and Etienne said accelerating access to vaccines will be vital in protecting populations, particularly the most vulnerable.
However, 20 countries are yet to reach the World Health Organization’s year-end vaccination target of forty percent.
And as those countries strive to reach the goal with the end of the year closing in, the PAHO Director called for equity and preparedness.
“We need a reliable supply of doses so that our COVID vaccination campaigns do not widen the inequities that have long divided our region,” she said.
The Americas reported over 782,655 new COVID infections and 10,950 deaths last week, yet just fifty-five percent of people in Latin America and the Caribbean are fully vaccinated.
According to PAHO, coverage remains much lower in some countries, including Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.