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Well being Officers are Shopping for Thousands and thousands of Vaccines for Latin America

The Pan American Well being Group has struck a cope with the Chinese language producer Sinovac to buy hundreds of thousands of Covid-19 vaccines for international locations in Latin America and the Caribbean as a part of an effort to make extra pictures accessible in a area the place entry has been very unequal.

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

Sinovac has provided to promote 8.5 million doses this 12 months and a further 80 million in 2022, he stated. International locations within the area that need the vaccine should purchase it from the well being group.

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

The direct purchases start at a time when, on common, solely 35 % 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, stated, noting that the protection has been very unequal.

Whereas some international locations, together with Chile and Uruguay, have absolutely vaccinated over 70 % of their populations, she stated, others have but to achieve the 20 % 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 stated, with lower than 1 % 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 help to start manufacturing of messenger RNA vaccines, the sort used within the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna pictures.

However in the intervening time, “vaccine donations stay the quickest solution to help international locations in our area,” Dr. Etienne stated.

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