WHO’s Americas department says it’s in ‘superior’ talks with vaccine producers to purchase further doses.
The Pan American Well being Group (PAHO) has stated it’s pushing to safe further COVID-19 vaccines for residents of the Americas amid enormous discrepancies in vaccination charges between international locations within the area.
PAHO, the Americas department of the World Well being Group (WHO), introduced on Wednesday that it had reached an settlement with Chinese language vaccine maker Sinovac to purchase 8.5 million vaccine doses for 2021 and one other 80 million doses subsequent 12 months.
PAHO Director Carissa Etienne stated vaccine donations, together with via the United Nations-backed COVAX programme, are the “quickest manner” to assist international locations within the area, however the organisation can also be counting on purchases to bolster provide.
“Our Revolving Fund is in superior discussions with vaccine producers to purchase further COVID vaccines on behalf of all member states to enrich bilateral offers, donations and doses that they’re receiving through the COVAX mechanism,” Etienne instructed reporters.
She famous vaccination charges had been progressing within the Americas, the place multiple billion doses have been administered to this point, however she pressured that “protection isn’t uniform”.
“Whereas Canada, Chile, Uruguay and Puerto Rico have totally vaccinated over 70 p.c of their populations, 10 international locations and territories in our area have but to succeed in 20 p.c of their populations,” she stated. “And in Haiti, fewer than 1 p.c of individuals have been protected up to now.”
Jarbas Barbosa, assistant director of PAHO, stated the group is finishing offers with completely different vaccine producers.
“We’re in negotiations with all of the producers who’ve emergency use authorisation from the WHO … and we’re in pretty superior negotiations to in all probability signal this week or subsequent week with two different producers who’ve provided vaccines for the final quarter of 2021 and for 2022,” Barbosa stated.
Greater than 550,000 individuals have died as a result of coronavirus within the Americas, in response to PAHO figures, which accounts for roughly 55 p.c of worldwide fatalities.
Etienne stated on Wednesday that the area recorded the best share of latest COVID-19 infections on this planet final week at 1.5 million new instances, whereas it additionally reported greater than 26,000 coronavirus-related deaths.
Regardless of a decline in new instances in the US, Canada is amongst a number of international locations within the area which have seen current upticks in infections.
The Canadian Medical Affiliation warned on Wednesday that the healthcare programs within the central provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan had been “crumbling”, calling for elevated vaccinations and public well being measures to “aggressively management” the rise in infections.