Latin America still not safe from SARS-Cov-2 – MercoPress

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OPS: Latin America still not safe from SARS-Cov-2

Friday, October 8, 2021 – 09:30 UTC

LatAm still far from collective immunity, warned PAHO’s Aldighieri

As restrictive health measures are gradually lifted around the world, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) warned Thursday in Mexico that the things do not look so bright in Latin America regarding the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sylvain Aldighieri, PAHO’s incident manager for Covid-19, insisted the pandemic was not being controlled at the national, regional or state level and warned that “worrying variants were circulating in countries, in the American region or around the world ”.

?? We anticipate epidemics and high transmission situations in many parts of the continent until the entry into 2022 or later, ?? Aldighieri explained.

He called on people and health authorities not to rush into “herd immunity hypotheses”.

Aldighieri insisted that the basis of this triumphalist vision was mass vaccination, which covers 60% of Mexico’s adult population with at least one dose.

But as long as there is community transmission in the countries, the pandemic is not tamed, ?? Aldighieri pointed out.

?? While immunization coverage saves lives, we should not make public health policies with assumptions that we have or have not achieved a herd effect, ?? he added.

?? In this context, PAHO recommends strengthening non-pharmacological preventive measures and invites the unvaccinated population to go to the Covid-19 vaccination centers, ?? he explained.

PAHO Director Carissa Etienne said Mexico has reported an increase in new infections, but “national data does not provide a complete picture and local trends remain worrying.”

The analysis of the organization, prepared with information until June 20, also regretted that there was “unequal access”? vaccines in the region.

UNESCO’s Covid-19 and vaccination in Latin America and the Caribbean. Challenges, needs and opportunities ?? The report pointed out that sufficient coverage has yet to be achieved in countries such as Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Peru.

?? Projections indicate that none of these five countries will achieve full immunization of 70% of the population by the end of 2021, ?? the indicated document.

The study also highlighted that many vaccination plans still do not contemplate the inclusion of children under the age of 18. Despite the scientific evidence from studies conducted mainly in adults, health authorities must analyze and take into account scientific criteria of fairness, and the principle of the best interests of children and adolescents to define the allocation of vaccines. ??

Therefore, Latin American health authorities “should take children into account in vaccination plans”? especially considering that in several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, especially in indigenous and Afro-descendant communities, the population under 16 exceeds 30%.

The report also insisted that scientists say vaccinating 70% of the population should be a target, even in the absence of “certainty on the duration of protection” given the different variants of the virus.

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