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Threat to economic recovery, Latin Americans find it difficult to get vaccinated

As high-income countries have obtained the majority of the doses available, Latin American authorities cite difficulties in reaching vaccines deals for their own populations

Photo: Rodrigo Balladares M. / Minsal Chile/Fotos Públicas
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  • A plan to manufacture the AstraZeneca vaccine locally suffers from delays, and suppliers like Russia face their own setbacks;
  • Costa Rica reached the highest daily COVID-19 cases since the pandemic took place.

The pandemic has hard hit Latin America. Yet, the region is struggling to vaccinate, which could threaten the region’s fragile economic recovery, reported Reuters. Latin America accounts for nearly 30% of COVID-19 deaths worldwide.

As high-income countries have obtained most of the doses available, Latin American authorities cite difficulties in reaching vaccine deals for their own populations. A plan to manufacture the AstraZeneca vaccine locally suffers from delays, and suppliers like Russia face their own setbacks.

READ ALSO: A new variant of coronavirus is identified in Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Meanwhile, the global Covax facility program, designed to distribute vaccines to poorer countries, is hampered by production problems, lack of support from wealthy nations, and a recent decision by India, the largest vaccine maker on the planet, to limit exports.

As the distribution of vaccines falls short of previously ambitious plans, coronavirus cases soar, and intensive care units from Argentina to Colombia are full, and the number of deaths reaches record highs.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned this month that the slow distribution of vaccines and the resurgence of cases “overshadow” the prospects for Latin America’s short-term economic recovery.

Regional leaders pressed for more vaccines at an Ibero-American summit last week, and the director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Carissa Etienne, said that regional shortages pose a global threat.

In Brazil, the largest country in the region and a global epicenter of the virus, the government is in trouble to get enough doses and is vaccinating at half the speed it initially predicted.

COVID-19 cases in Latin America

On Saturday, Costa Rica registered 1,830 new COVID-19 cases, its highest daily cases since the pandemic took place. According to Reuters, authorities said public hospitals are nearly full. So far, Costa Rica has 238,760 cases and 3,143 deaths caused by COVID-19.

Even though the number of deaths caused by COVID-19 in India has skyrocketed, Brazil still leads the world in the daily average number of new deaths reported. The month is not over yet, but April already is the most lethal month of the pandemic in Latin America’s largest country. The number of deaths at the beginning of 2021 already surpasses the number of 2020. Brazil’s 7-day moving average of deaths has decreased, but at high levels: nearly 2,500 people die from COVID-19 in Brazil every 24 hours, reported O Estado de São Paulo.

READ ALSO: Colombia registers a new record of deaths from COVID-19, as well as the whole world

For the first time during the pandemic, Mexico reported less than 100 deaths caused by COVID-19 per day. During the weekend, the country registered 94 deaths due to COVID-19, as noticed by Expansión.

Colombia’s Ministry of Health reported that on Saturday, the country had 17,190 new cases of COVID-19 and 465 new deaths. Because of the red flag for hospitals’ occupancy rate in Bogotá, Colombia’s capital, suspended face-to-face classes up to May 9, according to La República.

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