This is due to the accelerated delivery of European, American, Chinese and self-produced vaccines received by several Latin American nations during the second half of this year, according to data from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
One of the reasons for these successful vaccination campaigns can be attributed to history: many Latin American countries have reliable national vaccination impulses against other diseases, such as polio.
Cuba has perhaps come out better in this regard, with its commitment to its own-produced vaccines, approved for emergency use by drug regulators this summer, bearing fruit.
Scientists say vaccines made in Cuba are safe and effective in preventing serious illness and death. The government requested World Health Organization approval for its vaccines in September.
Brazil has administered more than 315 million doses, with 65.7% of the population fully vaccinated, according to PAHO data as of December 23.
In Ecuador, 69.1% of its eligible population is already fully vaccinated. There, vaccinations against Covid-19 will be mandatory for people who are eligible for the vaccine from the age of five, the Ecuadorian Ministry of Health said on Thursday, becoming the first country in Latin America to impose this measure for the entire eligible population. Vaccination will not be mandatory for those with pre-existing medical conditions, according to the health ministry statement.
And in Peru, which has suffered the highest death rate from Covid-19 in the world, now 63.9% of the eligible population is fully vaccinated.
At the regional level, more than 868 million doses have been administered in Latin America and the Caribbean on December 22, PAHO reported, with about 57% of the population in Latin America and the Caribbean completely vaccinated. This compares with 67.8% in Europe and 61.3% in the United States.
However, PAHO warns that vaccination remains uneven in the Latin American and Caribbean region, “with a handful of countries unlikely to reach the 40% vaccination target by the end of the year and many just above the 50% full immunization threshold against COVID-19. “
Countries that continue to struggle with their releases include Jamaica and French Guiana, where 18.7% and 25.4% of people are fully vaccinated. Among the largest countries in the region, Mexico has just surpassed the 50% threshold.
And as the Omicron variant spreads, like much of the world, Latin America is beginning to see an increase in reported cases. During the week to December 23, the Americas (including the United States and Canada) reported more than 1.1 million new Covid-19 infections, a 6% increase in cases over the week previous.
However, much of this increase was driven by U.S. cases, with PAHO reporting a global drop in cases in South America of 10.7% of cases and a 6.3% decrease in deaths. this week.
Bolivia was the most atypical, with a sharp increase in cases, as were parts of the Caribbean, where a PAHO analysis showed that cases increased by 16%.
In addition to imported vaccines, Latin America is producing more of its own. This month, PAHO Director-General Carissa Etienne welcomed the approval of the WHO for an AstraZeneca vaccine produced jointly by Argentina and Mexico, the first in Latin America.
“This is an important milestone for Latin America and highlights the importance of technology transfer in increasing the availability of quality COVID-19 vaccines in the region,” Etienne said.
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