Health Officials are Buying Millions of Vaccines for Latin America

The Pan American Health Group has struck a cope with the Chinese language producer Sinovac to buy tens of millions of Covid-19 vaccines for international locations in Latin America and the Caribbean as half of an effort to make extra pictures obtainable in a area the place entry has been very unequal.

The company, half of the World Health Group, is negotiating with two different producers and anticipating to announce new offers quickly, Dr. Jarbas Barbosa, its assistant director, mentioned at a information convention Wednesday.

Sinovac has supplied to promote 8.5 million doses this yr and an extra 80 million in 2022, he mentioned. Nations within the area that need the vaccine must purchase it from the well being group.

“This can be a buy, it isn’t a donation,” Dr. Barbosa mentioned, noting that the Inter-American Growth Financial institution is providing loans to international locations that want them.

The direct purchases start at a time when, on common, solely 35 p.c of the inhabitants of Latin America and the Caribbean has been absolutely vaccinated towards Covid-19, Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, the director of the company, mentioned, noting that the protection has been very unequal.

Whereas some international locations, together with Chile and Uruguay, have absolutely vaccinated over 70 p.c of their populations, she mentioned, others have but to achieve the 20 p.c mark. These international locations are: the Bahamas, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Venezuela. Haiti is a very dire case, she mentioned, with lower than 1 p.c of the inhabitants absolutely vaccinated.

The well being group can also be working to develop vaccine manufacturing within the area, and final week introduced {that a} facility in Brazil and one other in Argentina will obtain technical assist to start manufacturing of messenger RNA vaccines, the kind used within the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna pictures.

However for the time being, “vaccine donations stay the quickest strategy to assist international locations in our area,” Dr. Etienne mentioned.

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