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World Bank Says US Must Release Excess Covid Vaccines For Latin America
The President of the World Bank said on Tuesday that he was U.S. releases excess doses of covid-19 vaccine for Latin America is critical as the World Health Organization has expressed concern about the high rates of infection in the region.
Mike Ryan, WHO’s foremost emergency expert, said the situation in the region “was starting to turn in the wrong direction”. Four of the top 10 countries for cases last week were there and death rates are higher between 3 and 5%, he said.
“These next few weeks are vital that the United States in particular releases the excess [vaccines] go to existing programs, ”World Bank President David Malpass said at the same briefing.
“We are ready to take them tomorrow in the three countries I mentioned and within two weeks in other Latin American countries.“he said, referring to Ecuador, El Salvador and Honduras, which are seeking 220 million doses of the vaccine.
The death toll in Latin America from Covid-19 has exceeded one million.
Chile, Peru and Paraguay reported declines in new infections, but Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil again see increase in cases, while Bolivia reports drastic increase in deaths, the Pan American Health Organization said last week.
The Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, also told the virtual vaccine equity briefing that vaccine supplies for the region should be prioritized.
“We need to think about the areas where the urgency to act is most important and unfortunately for latin america a number of countries are hit by the brute force of covid-19,” she said.
US President Joe Biden announced promises of some 80 million doses of vaccine last month, including a significant number that will go to poor countries through the WHO COVAX sharing program.
however, Malpass hinted more donations were needed, referring to its policy of immunizing adolescents generally considered to be at low risk of serious disease.
“One thing must be done for fairness and security for the whole world: We need to vaccinate vulnerable people now,” he said.
WHO has repeatedly called on rich countries to donate vaccines abroad instead of vaccinating children. WHO senior adviser Bruce Aylward praised the dose promises from rich countries, but said the timing of their availability had to be brought forward.