The Pan American Health Organization says United Nations-backed programme will enhance COVID vaccine entry in hard-hit Latin America.
Colombia has turn out to be the primary nation within the Americas to obtain a cargo of coronavirus vaccines by way of the United Nations-backed COVAX programme, receiving 117,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Monday.
The cargo’s arrival within the capital, Bogota, got here a number of days after the anniversary of the primary COVID-19 case in Latin America.
Colombia has been one of many area’s hardest-hit nations, registering over 2.25 million circumstances of COVID-19 and nearly 60,000 coronavirus-related deaths.
“Today marks a very important milestone, today COVAX makes its first delivery in the Western Hemisphere, and the first country to receive it is Colombia,” President Ivan Duque mentioned in a press release.
COVAX, the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility, goals to make sure that the world’s most susceptible individuals are inoculated and that low- and middle-income nations have equitable entry to vaccines.
But the initiative has been hampered by the severely restricted international provide of doses and logistical issues. Although it goals to ship two billion pictures this 12 months, it presently has legally binding agreements just for a number of hundred million pictures.
“The arrival means that more health workers and high-risk populations can begin to be vaccinated,” World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus mentioned in a press release.
“The COVID-19 pandemic can only end if vaccination occurs in an equitable way, and I am truly delighted to see vaccine doses in South America and other regions begin to be rolled out this week through COVAX.”
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) mentioned it expects to extend vaccine entry in Latin America by way of COVAX and has introduced plans to result in 280 million vaccines to the Americas and the Caribbean by the tip of the 12 months.
The organisation mentioned in a press release on Monday that 36 nations within the area will obtain Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines by way of the initiative.
Of these, 26 will achieve this by way of their very own funds whereas 10 will obtain the vaccines at no cost.
Peru, El Salvador, and Bolivia are anticipated to obtain Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines as a part of the “first wave” of COVAX shipments, PAHO mentioned in its assertion.
Colombia started its COVID-19 vaccination marketing campaign final month.
The authorities has mentioned it goals to vaccinate 35 million individuals this 12 months, together with a whole bunch of hundreds of Venezuelan migrants and refugees who’re presently living within the nation.