LATIN AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN: COVID-19
Source: PAHO/WHO - https://bit.ly/2O25YQw
602.2K NEW COVID-19 CASES IN LATIN AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN FROM 8-14 FEBRUARY 2021
1M+ VACCINES ADMINISTERED IN CHILE, MORE THAN ANY COUNTRY IN THE REGION
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts that Latin America and the Caribbean’s regional economy will grow 4.1 per cent in 2021, warning that the region’s economy will remain at risk unless the COVID-19 pandemic comes under control through effective vaccination rollouts. PAHO is urging countries to share vaccine rollout information through the Vaccine Introduction Readiness Tool (VIRAT) online platform maintained by PAHO/ WHO, UNICEF and the World Bank to assess national import and authorization procedures, as well as cold chain capacities.
At present, 21 countries have shared their national vaccination plans, while 20 report having reviewed cold chain infrastructure and procedures.
Ahead of the slated arrival of some 400,000 doses through the COVAX mechanism for late February 2021, the Government disclosed Guatemala’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout plan. The four-phase plan seeks to vaccinate 8 to 10 million people in 2021, with the initial phases targeting frontline medical staff with some 135,000 doses, followed by vaccinations for the elderly and people with chronic illnesses.
Initial priority groups also include relief workers and civil protection staff. The following phase will target public security and military forces and education workers.
Chile has already administered more than 1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses. The immunization of 1,025,580 people as of 9 February comes approximately a week after the country launched their inoculation program targeting frontline workers and the elderly, a program with an initial target of around 5 million people vaccinated by the end of March. Chile was the first country in South America to begin vaccinations, securing vaccines as early as 24 December.
The Caribbean expects to receive an initial donation of 500,000 OxfordAstraZeneca vaccines from India, with the first shipments already delivered to Barbados and Dominica. Several governments have reached out to India on vaccine procurement. At least 70,000 doses of the AstraZeneca will be dedicated to frontline workers.
India’s donation, announced shortly after news of the COVAX allocation for the subregion, comes at a critical juncture as Caribbean countries embark on vaccination campaigns to protect public health and kickstart tourism amid a resurgence of the pandemic and tighter travel restrictions in source markets.