New announcement on vaccination in Latin America.
The Covax mechanism, led by the World Health Organization (WHO), published details this week of what it plans to be the first phase of its program to distribute vaccines against covid-19 to the 187 countries that resorted to that program, among them, several from Latin America.
Covax aims guarantee access to the vaccine a Developing countries at a time when the WHO warns of the enormous inequality in the distribution of this drug against SARS-CoV-2.
From the initiative they plan to distribute 337.2 million doses of Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines in a first phase, which they estimate will be able to start at the end of February or already in March.
Almost all of it corresponds to the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca, with 96 million doses produced directly by this pharmaceutical and 240 million by the Serum Institute of India (SII).
In addition, 1.2 million doses of Pfizer / BioNTech are expected to be distributed.
In total, in this first round, vaccines will cover an average of 3.3% of the total population of 145 countries, most of them low- and middle-income.
However, some vaccines also will be distributed to high-income countries like Canada, whose decision to use this program generated controversy.
Covax in Latin America
According to the provisional plan, Latin America will receive around 10% of vaccines of this first phase.
The largest quantity of doses will foreseeably be sent to Brazil, with 10.7 million; followed by Mexico, with 6.5 million; and Colombia, with 2.7 million.
In addition, among the nations of Latin America, there are four –Bolivia, Colombia, El Salvador and Peru– who were selected for the pilot program “Primera Ola”, to receive in mid-February a limited number of doses of the vaccine from Pfizer / BioNTech within the total of their assigned quota, reported the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
Covax has raised $ 6 billion, with contributions such as the United Kingdom (of the highest, $ 734 million). The US has not contributed, although the new Biden administration said it will join the alliance.
The managers of the mechanism expect that, by the end of 2021, more than 2 billion doses have been delivered.
Why are vaccines not reaching everyone
Many nations in the Americas, especially Central America and the Caribbean, have not begun to vaccinate and are watching with hope the implementation of the Covax plan.
When looking at the continent as a whole, the difference is profound between the cases of Canada, which can vaccinate its population five times, and the United States, which has the resources to do it 1.7 times, compared to some Latin American nations. that they will not be able to cover even half of its inhabitants with their own resources, the Efe Agency analyzed.
In the Latin American region, there are even countries where it is not even known when you can start the process.
“In Latin America, we have eight countries that have already started vaccination —Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Brazil— because they have already received vaccines,” explained Johnattan García Ruiz, visiting researcher at the TH Chan School of Health Public from Harvard University and the Dejusticia study center, in the #TuMundoBBC program.
“This is partly explained because in the negotiations that the countries made, many times some had that first in lineEither because they started earlier or they were doing it with another supplier, as in the case of the vaccines from Argentina or Bolivia, the Russian Sputnik, which had a way to arrive much faster than those from Pfizer, with a much greater commitment with many more countries. “
In #TuMundoBBC, in which every Thursday BBC Mundo journalists analyze a current issue with experts in the area, García considered that there are three groups of countries in the region.
“Those who already have negotiation and have already received [vacunas]; those who already have advanced negotiations and no vaccines have arrived (like Colombia or Peru) and others where it is not known very well or that almost only depend on Covax (Nicaragua, Guatemala) “.
“Covax vaccines require impressive logistics to coordinate access to hundreds of countries and these are the ones that have not yet arrived and many Latin American countries depend on them,” the expert remarked.
Covax was “the illusion that all countries could coordinate “for an equitable distribution of the vaccine, Garcia noted,” but we could hardly find in Covax global leadership “.
Each country undertook its own bilateral negotiations and in some parts of the world it was possible to negotiate as a bloc, as is the case of the European Union, “which works together, with its advantages and disadvantages.”
“But in Latin America we are not seeing that (…). We are vulnerable, but we do not work together,” he lamented.
In the opinion of the Harvard University researcher, without coordination each country will advance at different gears And that will prevent us all from getting out of this health crisis, which continues to plague the world.
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