Accelerating access to vaccines is an urgent priority in the face of new variants, says PAHO Director


With 20 countries yet to reach the WHO’s year-end vaccination target of 40%, and the Omicron variant now detected in six countries in the region, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director Carissa F. Etienne said that accelerating access to vaccines will be key to protecting populations, particularly the most vulnerable.

“The arrival of a new variant doesn’t necessarily mean that things will be worse, but it does mean that we must be extra-vigilant,” she said in a media briefing today, urging for continued vaccination and public health measures.

Over 782,655 new COVID infections and 10,950 deaths were reported in the Americas last week, yet just 55% of people in Latin America and the Caribbean have been fully vaccinated. In some countries, including Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, coverage remains much lower.

While the region is “racing to get people protected from this virus,” the PAHO Director called for a long-term strategy that takes into account the duration of protection of the vaccines, their impact on different age groups, and the behavior of new variants.

With 1.6 million doses of COVID vaccine arriving in the region this week and more expected to follow, it is crucial that “vulnerable groups like our indigenous peoples, the elderly and those with existing conditions that leave them at higher risk of severe COVID should be first in line,” Dr. Etienne said.

However, in countries with high overall coverage, rates of vaccination among people over the age of 60 remains lower. And in countries where vaccination is further behind, healthy people are also being protected first.

“This lack of prioritization is perilous because it keeps our elderly vulnerable and our health systems at risk,” the Director added.

Dr. Etienne also highlighted the importance of ensuring long-term, sustainable access to vaccines, emphasizing the crucial role of PAHO’s Revolving Fund – a vaccine purchasing mechanism that has already secured more than US$1 billion in routine vaccines for the region this year.

“By using our Revolving Fund, countries are guaranteed access to quality-assured vaccines at fair prices through a transparent mechanism,” the Director said.

As the year draws to a close and countries deploy doses to reach the WHO’s year-end targets, the Director called for equity and preparedness.

“We need a reliable supply of doses so that our COVID vaccination campaigns do not widen the inequities that have long divided our region,” she said.

Over the past week, COVID cases have increased in Canada and parts of Mexico, as well as in the South American countries of Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia. In the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago continues to experience jumps in COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. Other smaller islands like the Cayman Islands are also witnessing increases in COVID infections.

With the exception of Panama, Central America is experiencing a decline in infections, and drops are also being seen in Ecuador, Chile, and Argentina.

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    • Keep up the good work of informing and information, there’s not enough CRITICAL THINKERS AROUND LIKE US – RESPECT!

  1. It would have been a wonderful thing if they show that same concerns with poverty and hunger and not just vaccines only.

  2. So far I’m not getting which vaccine the Antiguan Government is using for its booster shot for the eligible citizens. I know that the booster shots are to be administered soon for those who have taken their two shots more than six months ago. Is it the Pfizer or the Moderna shot?

  3. So far I’m not getting which vaccine the Antiguan Government is using for its booster shot for the eligible citizens. I know that the booster shots are to be administered soon for those who have taken their two shots more than six months ago. Is it the Pfizer or the Moderna shot? Hope it’s not the AstraZeneca.

  4. Carissa F Etienne is a public Health expert from Dominica. She serves as the director of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) And regional Director for the Americas of the World Health Organisation (WHO) until 2023.


    Here’s two thing that Carissa F Etienne DARE NOT tell you:

    1), Pfizer has ask the courts for a further extension from 55 years (they originally requested) to 75 years to hide details of Covid-19 vaccine trial results – WHICH COULD MEAN THAT RESULTS WILL NOT BE KNOWN UNTIL 2096.

    What are Pfizer hiding from the world today, that they are so WORRIED about tomorrow?

    2), Here are the recently released YEARLY results from Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) data for well known drugs over the last 26 years:

    IVERMECTIN. Total adverse events = 3,756. Average yearly deaths = 15

    HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE (HCQ). Total adverse events = 23,555. Average yearly deaths = 69

    FLU VACCINES. Total adverse events = 198,776. Average yearly deaths = 80


    COVID-19 VACCINES SINCE LAUNCH. TOTAL ADVERSE EVENTS = 927,740 & AVERAGE DEATHS TO DATE = 19,532. (6,000 deaths occurred within zero, one or 2 days following vaccination)

    All this worldwide data comes from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) & Centers for Disease Control (CDC) themselves.

    Covid is a deadly disease, and shouldn’t we have all the facts, figures and information about the adverse reactions and DEATHS, so that we can make INFORMED choices whether to take these COVID-19 vaccines OR NOT.


    • All true. Also the first batch of papers released by Pfizer last week under FOIA legal instruction revealed that 1200 persons had died in the trials of their rushed to market, emergency use only, improperly rushed out to meet Trump’s ‘warp speed’ program.


    • I saw the Pfizer story, where they asked for 55 years to release public data, then increased it to 75. Its a shame when the most useful info comes from the comments.

  5. Utter nonsense from these ‘public health’ officials, who merely parrot the latest politicised / drug selling nonsense coming out of the discredited FDA and CDC. The boosters don’t work on the new Omicron variant, and it’s vaccine escape is keeping the virus going. Reports from around the globe but in particular South Africa confirm that the symptoms and health impact of the Omicron variant are thankfully mild with there being an marked absence of hospitalisations and deaths (no reported deaths to date), despite it being more ‘transmissible’. Many didn’t even know they had it. Herd immunity beckons but ironically no thanks to the vaccines. The vaccines do have a place in terms of the stratification of risk but these are potentially dangerous and should have been addressed on a risk / reward basis per patient. Broad and compulsory mandates were are dumb, particularly given the effectiveness of repurposed drug based protocols involving Ivermectin and HCQ. Ironically, unvaccinated need protection from the predations of the vaxxed and their now compromised immune systems.

  6. Vaccines, vaccines f£&@9&£ vaccines. I wish they would put this much effort in feeding the hungry, providing clean drinking water, education. So friggin’ sick of PAHO, WHO, Pfizer etc. Bunch of MF.

  7. What does she mean by “long-term, sustainable access to vaccines”? – She know something we don’t? I wonder how much long-term and sustainable perks she will get for distributing them 🤔.

  8. When I was hungry they didn’t care to feed me , when I was thirsty I couldn’t get a drink, when I was homeless I couldn’t get no assistance from no one to rest my head, now I am healthy they want to protect me by forcing me to take an experimental drug.

    For the love of money mankind will pretend to love people and cause destruction at all cost

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