RIO DE JANEIRO — Officers on the World Well being Group on Wednesday repeated their requires the world’s governments to speed up plans to distribute coronavirus vaccines to hard-hit nations, warning that many international locations in Latin America proceed to see rising caseloads.
“Throughout our area, this yr has been worse than final yr,” mentioned Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, the director of the Pan American Well being Group, which is a part of the World Well being Group. “In lots of locations infections are larger now than at any level on this pandemic.”
The feedback got here as President Biden ready to announce that his administration will purchase 500 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and donate them amongst about 100 international locations over the subsequent yr, in response to folks accustomed to the plan. Mr. Biden might announce the association as early as Thursday, as he begins his first journey overseas as president.
It’s not but clear which international locations the five hundred million vaccine doses could be provided to, however Latin America is among the many areas the place the necessity is pressing. Eight of the ten international locations with the very best charge of Covid deaths per capita charge are in Latin America and the Caribbean, in response to the Heart for Techniques Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins College.
And at the same time as hospitals in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and different nations the place the virus continues to unfold aggressively have created overflow services, well being care methods in a number of nations within the area are struggling to manage, Dr. Etienne mentioned through the W.H.O.’s digital information convention on Wednesday morning.
“Regardless of the doubling and even the tripling of hospital beds all through the area, I.C.U. beds are full, oxygen is operating low and well being staff are overwhelmed,” she mentioned.
Most governments in Latin America are struggling to accumulate sufficient doses to rapidly inoculate their folks, which can delay their means to completely reopen economies, officers mentioned.
Final week, Mr. Biden mentioned the USA would distribute 25 million doses this month to international locations within the Caribbean and Latin America; South and Southeast Asia; Africa; and the Palestinian territories, Gaza and the West Financial institution. These doses are the primary of 80 million that Mr. Biden pledged to ship overseas by the tip of June.
Dr. Etienne mentioned that solely a extra equitable distribution system would put an finish to the pandemic within the foreseeable future.
“Right now we’re seeing the emergence of two worlds, one rapidly returning to regular and one other the place restoration stays a distant future,” Dr. Etienne mentioned. “Sadly, vaccine provide is concentrated in a couple of nations whereas a lot of the world waits for doses to trickle down.”
She singled out the vaccine scarcity in Central America, residence to greater than 44 million folks, the place simply over two million have been inoculated. Fewer than three million folks have been vaccinated in nations within the Caribbean, which has a inhabitants of simply over 34 million.