WASHINGTON, DC, United States (CMC)– Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Dr Carissa F Etienne has warned that health systems in the Americas, including some Caribbean countries, are overwhelmed amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, and she has urged nations with extra vaccines to donate them to the region.
“Hospitalisations are at an all-time high in Costa Rica, and we expect more patients will require care as the country reported a 50 per cent jump in cases in the last week,” Dr Etienne told reporters at her weekly media briefing on Wednesday.
“Guatemala’s hospitals have also reached maximum capacity,” she said, adding that, at hospitals in Colombia, “ICU beds are running out in major metropolitan cities like Bogota and Medellin”.
Dr Etienne said that vaccine “supplies still languish behind our urgent need for more doses. That’s why we urge countries with extra doses to consider donating a significant portion of these to the Americas, where these life-saving doses are desperately needed and will be promptly used,” she said.
The PAHO director said the crowding of hospitals crisis is due partly to the increase in hospitalisation of younger COVID-19 patients, who are less frequently vaccinated and more often exposed.
She said they tend to be hospitalised for longer periods and, therefore, use up more resources.
“PAHO is orienting our countries to plan on coping with sudden increases in the consumption of critical inputs such as oxygen, intubation drugs, personal protective equipment and infusion pumps,” Dr Etienne said.