In Guatemala, a shortage of syringes has slowed vaccination efforts. In Haiti, logistics and security challenges following the devastating August 14 earthquake have contributed to making it the country with the lowest vaccination coverage in the world.
World Health Organization officials warned in an online news conference today that in the Caribbean, countries grapple with uneven distribution of doses and vaccine hesitation.
A “critical challenge facing the Caribbean – both English-speaking countries and French-speaking countries and territories – is vaccine hesitancy,” said Dr. Kovid-19 Incident Manager at the Pan American Health Organization. Sylvain Aldighieri said, which is part of. who
“Even if some regions of the Caribbean are leading the regional effort in terms of vaccination coverage, we can say that vaccine offshore is suboptimal in most Caribbean countries,” he said.
The World Health Organization has set a target for every country in the world to vaccinate at least 40 percent of its population by the end of the year. Four of the six countries in the Americas that have not yet reached the 20 percent threshold are in the Caribbean: Haiti, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and St. Lucia. The other two – Nicaragua and Guatemala – are in Central America.
Pan-American Agency Director Dr. Carissa F. “In all these countries, vaccine availability has been a central challenge due to unequal distribution of doses,” Etienne said.
But like the shortage of syringes in Guatemala, many countries are also “facing their own unique obstacles”.
Meanwhile, Jamaica has faced delays in supplies.
Haiti, where an August earthquake killed at least 2,200 people, has fully vaccinated less than 1 percent of its population.
“The socio-political situation in Haiti is still tense, and this has had a negative impact” on vaccination efforts, said Ciro Ugarte, director of health emergencies at the Pan-American Agency.
Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean receive vaccines through bilateral agreements with manufacturers, as well as through donations from the United Nations-backed COVAX program and countries with high doses. The pan-American agency has also sealed deals for countries to buy millions of vaccine doses from China’s SinoPharm and Sinovac as well as AstraZeneca.
What to know about COVID-19 booster shots
The FDA authorized booster shots for a select group of people who received a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least six months ago. That group includes: Pfizer recipients who are 65 years of age or older or who live in long-term care facilities; Adults who are at high risk of severe COVID-19 due to an underlying medical condition; Health care workers and others whose jobs put them at risk. People with a weakened immune system are eligible for a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna four weeks after the second shot.
Regulators have yet to authorize booster shots for recipients of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, but an FDA panel is about to meet to weigh booster shots for adult recipients of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
The CDC states that conditions that qualify a person for a booster shot include: high blood pressure and heart disease; diabetes or obesity; cancer or blood disorder; weakened immune system; chronic lung, kidney or liver disease; Dementia and some disabilities. Pregnant women and current and former smokers are also eligible.
The FDA authorized boosters for workers whose jobs put them at high risk of coming into contact with potentially infectious people. The CDC says the group includes: emergency medical workers; education worker; food and agricultural workers; construction workers; improvement worker; US Postal Service employees; public transport workers; Grocery store workers.
It is not recommended. For now, Pfizer vaccine recipients are advised to get the Pfizer booster shot, and Moderna and Johnson & Johnson recipients should wait until booster doses are approved from those manufacturers.
Yes. The CDC says the COVID vaccine can be administered regardless of the timing of other vaccines, and many pharmacy sites are allowing people to schedule the flu shot at the same time as a booster dose.
Although the number of COVID cases is declining in most of Latin America and the Caribbean, several islands in the Caribbean are seeing an increase.
Barbados, for example, is reporting the most infections and deaths since the pandemic began, said agency director Dr. Etienne said. The Dominican Republic, Haiti, the Cayman Islands, Antigua and Barbuda and Anguilla are also reporting an increase in cases.
“In the eastern Caribbean, health services are — or still are — overwhelmed by the influx of patients requiring hospitalization,” Dr. Aldighieri said. He also noted that the situation was in contrast to last year, when most Caribbean island countries were able to avoid widespread transmission of the virus.
Despite vaccine hesitancy, 39 percent of the population in Latin America and the Caribbean are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Dr. Etienne said. This is sharply higher than in Africa, where less than 5 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As more vaccines begin to flow into the region, however, it is important for countries to “make the necessary preparations so that these doses can be used as quickly as possible,” Dr. Etienne said.