COVID-19 variants could increase need to improve vaccine access in Latin America and the Caribbean

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Pan-American Health Organization Director Carissa Etienne believes covid-19 variants increase the need to improve vaccine access in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Etienne, noted during her weekly regional press briefing in Washington DC on Wednesday, that so far, 18 countries have reported cases of the beta variant; 29 countries have reported cases of the gamma variant and 14 have reported cases of the delta variant.

Dr. Etienne says countries in the Americas last week alone reported 1.1 million new covid-19 infections and 30,000 deaths, bringing the total case count to more than 72 million and deaths to nearly 1.9 million.

She also addressed the fresh challenges presented by new seasons in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Countries facing the hurricane season she says should bolster “Coordination among the public health, civil protection and emergency teams that could be called on to act in the event of a storm.”

The PAHO Director thanked the United States for its donations of vaccines to Latin America and the Caribbean, saying she hoped other countries follow suit.

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