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Three more countries in the Americas receive COVID-19 vaccines made available through COVAX, PAHO reports

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PAHO is moving quickly to ensure delivery to more countries in coming weeks.

Washington, D.C. March 12, 2021 (PAHO) – In the last few days, three more countries in the Americas have received their first doses of COVID-19 vaccines procured through COVAX, a global effort between the Coalition for the Promotion of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the Gavi Vaccine Alliance (Gavi), UNICEF, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Peru received 117,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on Wednesday. Yesterday Guatemala received 81,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, manufactured by SK Bioscience of South Korea, and El Salvador received 33,600 doses from the same manufacturer.

Colombia was the first country in the Americas to receive COVAX vaccines, with the arrival of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on March 1.

PAHO’s Revolving Fund, which is the procurement agent for the COVAX mechanism for the 36 participating countries in the Americas, is moving quickly to ensure that the rest of the countries receive their allocated doses as quickly as possible.

Upcoming arrivals include:

  • Honduras is scheduled to receive 48,000 doses on Saturday.
  • Jamaica should receive doses next week, and Paraguay is also expected to get them next week.
  • Orders have been placed for 135,000 doses for Nicaragua and for 228,000 doses for Bolivia.

“The arrivals are a major step in the fight in the Americas to defeat this devastating pandemic,” said PAHO Director Carissa F. Etienne. “They also mark a historic step in the goal of ensuring equitable distribution of vaccines globally. We are part of the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history.”

Further updates on shipments will be shared as information becomes available

The deliveries are part of a first phase of doses to be received by the countries, and more vaccines are expected to arrive successively during 2021. COVAX aims to supply vaccines for at least 20% of the population of each participating country this year.

In this first round of vaccine allocation, all COVAX participating countries will receive enough doses to vaccinate between 2.2% and 2.6% of their population. The only exceptions are small island states, which will receive enough vaccines for 16% to 20% of their population, due to the high logistical cost of delivering small quantities of vaccine.

Until vaccination is widespread in the population, basic public health measures remain the foundation of the pandemic response. For public health authorities, this means continued screening, contact tracing, isolation, assisted quarantine and quality care. And for individuals, it means continuing to practice physical distancing, hand hygiene, use of masks, ventilation of spaces and avoidance of crowds.

COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Gavi) and the World Health Organization (WHO) – working in partnership with UNICEF as key implementing partner, as well as civil society organizations, vaccine manufacturers, the World Bank, and others. In the Americas, the PAHO Revolving Fund is the recognized procurement agent for the COVAX facility.

Contacts

Daniel Epstein
Nancy Nusser
Sebastián Oliel
mediateam@paho.org