Director of the Pan American Health Organisation Dr Carisa Etienne, has warned that COVID-19 vaccine deliveries have been slowing down.
And, as such, she is urging countries across the Caribbean region to employ public health restrictions to curb the surging COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking during PAHO’s weekly media briefing, Etienne said “I cannot stress this enough – for most countries, vaccines are not going to stop this wave of the pandemic,”
“There are simply not enough of them available to protect everyone in the countries at greatest risk. Therefore, we need to stop transmission by any means possible with the tools we have at hand.”
Since March, PAHO’s Revolving Fund has helped deliver more than three million doses of COVAX-procured vaccines to 28 countries.
However, Etienne said in the past few weeks constraints on producers of COVAX vaccines have slowed deliveries, and supplies are not expected to normalise for a few more weeks.
“PAHO is committed to working with Member States to secure more vaccine doses for our region as soon as they are available to complement what countries have already purchased via bilateral deals and through the COVAX Facility,” she said.
She said in the past week, more than 1.3 million people were infected with the virus and nearly 36,000 people died from the disease.
“We are not acting like a region in the midst of a worsening outbreak,” Etienne stated.
“Despite ongoing transmission in many places, restrictions have relaxed. Crowds are back, and people are gathering indoors and taking public transportation, often without masks”.
She said new, highly transmissible variants are also fuelling acceleration.