Brasilia: COVID-19 deaths and infections have fallen across North and South America for the 8th week in a row, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said Thursday AEDT, warning that a very high percentage of hospitalized cases are now unvaccinated people.
In North America, all three countries reported declines in weekly cases and deaths, and there has been a remarkable decline in hospitalizations in the United States and Canada, PAHO said, with similar declines in South and Central America.
The World Health Organization’s regional health department said 46 percent of Latin American and Caribbean populations have been fully vaccinated, and a majority of countries have already reached the WHO’s 40 percent vaccination target set by the end of the year.
“Vaccine inequality remains the biggest barrier to achieving our coverage targets,” PAHO Assistant Director Jarbas Barbosa said in a briefing.
Given the limited supply of vaccines, he called on the authorities to prioritize the elderly, frontline workers and people with pre-existing conditions, to protect them and also to prevent health systems from being overburdened with serious cases.
PAHO recommends giving booster doses to immunocompromised people, including cancer patients, HIV-positive individuals, patients on corticoids, and transplant recipients.
PAHO said people over the age of 60 who received inactivated virus vaccines manufactured by China’s Sinovac Biotech and Sinopharm should also get booster shots.
Barbosa rejected as “fake news” the view that people who had coronavirus are immune to COVID-19 and do not need to be vaccinated.