The Pan American Health Organization says less than half of people in the Americas are fully vaccinated.
After two consecutive months of decline, COVID-19 infections are on the rise again in some U.S. states, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said, warning that unequal vaccination rates across the region remains a problem.
During a weekly news release on Wednesday, PAHO director Carissa Etienne said Colombia, Bolivia as well as the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados are seeing increases in cases of coronavirus in some places.
Concerns are mounting that despite sustained progress in vaccination rates, unequal access to samples, persistent vaccine reluctance and the constant threat of infectious Delta variant can spur new infections.
But Etienne said the “good news” is that vaccination rates continue to plummet, with 48 percent of people in the Americas now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
While Chile, Uruguay, Canada and the United States have so far vaccinated the majority of their respective adult populations, poorer nations in the region still far behind.
Jamaica, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Guatemala have so far vaccinated less than 1 in 5 people, Etienne said.
“In Nicaragua, single-digit coverage remains and in Haiti, less than 1 percent of people are fully vaccinated,” she told reporters. “This inequality must be addressed.”
To address the issue of vaccine access, she said PAHO plans to work with state institutions and private companies in Argentina and Brazil to build those nations’ ability to develop and manufacture vaccines for the entire region.
The America The region recorded 700,000 new cases and 13,000 deaths linked to the coronavirus in the past week, Etienne also said.
Meanwhile, some regions of the US are also seeing an increase in infection rates, even though case numbers in other areas have declined.
The states of California, Colorado, Alaska, Montana and New Mexico are seeing increasing COVID-19 cases, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
We invite our member states to join this initiative using the Revolving Fund, our established and proven mechanism for equitable access to vaccine supplies, guided by evidence-based recommendations. @DirOPSPAHO # COVID-19
– PAHO / WIE (@pahowho) 10 November 2021
U.S. officials say the increase in COVID-19 infections may be linked to the virus circulating among children, which has returned to personal learning in many places this year, and declining resistance among adults as vaccine protection fades.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the U.S.’s leading expert on infectious diseases, said the Delta variant accounts for 99 percent of new cases, but that public health officials continue to watch for the emergence of any new variants.
The US administers an average of 800,000 booster stick per day across the country, while this past week also begin inent millions of children between five and 11 years old at pediatric offices and specialized mobile sites.
Vaccinating new qualifying adolescents and younger children “will help us a lot to prevent some of these ups and downs you hear about,” CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky said during a White House media briefing on Wednesday. .
White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zeints said 900,000 children had already received their first stab.