The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), in an update to its 59th Directing Council meeting of health ministers, has disclosed that the course of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Americas remains ‘highly uncertain’.
According to a PAHO news release, surges in cases in the first half of 2021, coupled with vaccine hesitancy and shortages, continue to pose a challenge to halting the spread of COVID-19 in the region.
A 28-page report outlined PAHO’s response to the pandemic since the first case was detected in the Americas in January 2020. To date, the region continues to be the hardest hit, with 88,207,746 confirmed cases and 2,175,310 deaths.
The report noted that the suppression of the COVID-19 in the Americas will continue to require a comprehensive response, with sustained health services network capacities, public health and social measures, targeted vaccination operations, and outbreak control actions, such as early detection, investigation and isolation of cases, and tracing and quarantine of contacts.
“We are in the fight of our lives against the SARS-CoV2 virus. We need to make sure that we win.” She added that financial resources to combat COVID-19 may be less next year. “We will not get out of this pandemic without solidarity,” PAHO Director Dr. Carissa F. Etienne told the delegates,.
According to the PAHO report, the availability of COVID-19 vaccines continues to be limited, and many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean face inequities in access. Vaccine hesitancy, it added, may further slow uptake by the population, or prevent full achievement of vaccination potential.