In a digital press briefing, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director, Dr. Carissa Etienne, has appealed to member countries to maintain coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols and safeguards, even as vaccinations get under way in several territories.
She noted that some countries are yet to get any doses of the vaccines while others are only able to distribute marginally.
“Some countries… have received zero doses of vaccines through COVAX, thus far, [while] other countries are getting enough to vaccinate a mere 20 percent of their populations,” the Director pointed out.
Dr. Etienne said the region remains “a very long way” from achieving the 70 per cent of countries’ populations being targeted for vaccination to control transmissions and attain herd immunity.
“Until we get more than 70 per cent of our populations vaccinated, we must endeavor to continue and practice the smart, effective and targeted public health measures and do what works … like the wearing of masks, frequent handwashing and sanitizing, avoiding crowded places, physical distancing, and covering of our sneeze or coughs”, she emphasized.
The Director urged member countries’ governments to ensure that these measures are effected and to be “cautious about lifting restrictions” as this could spur new increases and hospitalizations.
“Vaccines are coming, but they are still several months away for most people in our region. Until they arrive, we need to continue the course, not let our guards down, and follow the guidance of [our] local health authorities”, Dr. Etienne added.
Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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