- PPI Web Desk
Panama City: The long awaited 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses arrived in Honduras yesterday. UNICEF welcomes the COVAX’s dose-sharing mechanism and calls for more vaccine donations for the Caribbean Islands and Latin American countries which have been hit hard by the impact of the pandemic.
Honduras is among those Latin American countries with the lowest vaccination rate, only 62,000 people have been fully vaccinated so far. All countries in the region depend on COVAX doses and wait anxiously. COVID-19 related deaths are still on a rise in Latin America and the Caribbean, even among younger age groups. About 30 per cent of the world’s COVID-19 deaths are in these countries and less than 11 per cent of its populations have been fully vaccinated.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic which impacted the world with the severity of a tsunami, millions of lives have been lost, people are pushed into poverty and trillions of dollars were spent to save economies, on the health sectors and on developing and producing vaccines. The vaccine is the most effective weapon mankind has to win the battle over the pandemic and already many countries are going back to normalcy after vaccinating its population. But the hope for going back to normal life any time soon is out of reach for many countries who don’t have the vaccine.
In Latin America and the Caribbean still more than 100 million children are out of school because of the pandemic and many vulnerable children have been pushed into child labor. For the sake of the children the pandemic has to end soon and vaccines are a key tool.
The longer it takes to get Caribbeans and Latin Americans fully vaccinated, the higher the risk for new and deadlier mutations of COVID-19 which will spread to other parts of the world.
UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Jean Gough said, “Equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines represents the clearest pathway out of this pandemic for all of us — children included, and these donations are an important step in this direction. In the coming weeks and months, further scaling up COVID-19 donations by well-supplied countries, including through large-scale dose-sharing to Latin America and the Caribbean, is vital to help end the acute phase of the pandemic.”