The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday it is concerned about the increase in cases of covid19 in the countries of the Eastern Caribbean.
Dr Sylvain Aldighieri, PAHO's director of incidents for covid19, speaking at a webinar. said there had been a 52 per cent increase in infections at the end of September compared to August, which was causing problems for the health systems of Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
“The hospitalisation rate increased considerably and in this context it is necessary comprehensive measures are taken with the prevention and early detection of cases, but above all for individuals to accept the vaccination when it is offered. There are more than 11,000 cases and the majority have been reported in people who have not been vaccinated."
Dr Carissa Etienne, director of PAHO, said in the last week there were 1.5 million cases and more than 26,000 deaths in the Americas.
In Canada there have been increases in cases and deaths, unlike the US and Mexico where there have been decreases. In Central and South America there have also been declines in cases, but a slight increase in deaths.
She said more than a billion doses of vaccines have been administered in the region, but the coverage is not uniform: Canada, Uruguay, Chile and Puerto Rico have more than 70 per cent of their population vaccinated, but many countries have not reached 20 per cent.
Etienne reported 50 million vaccines have been donated through Covax, but higher-income countries need to continue to support it.
Jamaica, Guatemala, and Nicaragua will receive large donations in the coming days, and PAHO's support continues in Haiti.
"We have to use all possible strategies to get more vaccines. We are talking with manufacturers to increase orders, and signing agreements to buy vaccines that have been approved for emergency use from other suppliers by 2021-22."
Syringes are also needed and more than 150 million have already been bought.
“We are working so that our countries have the development and production capacity to facilitate the distribution of vaccines and the necessary tools for immunisation,” Etienne said.
Dr Jarbas Barbosa, deputy director of PAHO, said it was working in several areas to facilitate the delivery of vaccines to all countries that cannot buy them.
“We have already received requests for help from 24 countries, some with vaccines for this year and others for 2022, through the revolving fund. We are in talks with two major producers for the delivery of more vaccines, starting in late 2021."
Barbosa highlighted the vaccine inequity around the world.
"While some countries are looking at studies that indicate a third dose, other countries are still struggling to get the first."