Latin American well being company is shopping for hundreds of thousands of Covid vaccines for the area.

The Pan American Health Organization has struck a cope with the Chinese producer Sinovac to buy hundreds of thousands of Covid-19 vaccines for international locations in Latin America and the C aribbean as a part of an effort to make extra photographs obtainable in a area the place entry has been very unequal.

The company, a part of the World Health Organization, is negotiating with two different producers and anticipating to announce new offers quickly, Dr. Jarbas Barbosa, its assistant director, stated at a information convention Wednesday.

Sinovac has supplied to promote 8.5 million doses this yr and an extra 80 million in 2022, he stated. Countries within the area that need the vaccine must purchase it from the well being group.

“This is a purchase, it isn’t a donation,” Dr. Barbosa stated, noting that the Inter-American Development Bank is providing loans to international locations that want them.

The direct purchases start at a time when, on common, solely 35 p.c of the inhabitants of Latin America and the Caribbean has been totally vaccinated in opposition to Covid-19, Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, the director of the company, stated, noting that the protection has been very unequal.

While some international locations, together with Chile and Uruguay, have totally vaccinated over 70 p.c of their populations, she stated, others have but to achieve the 20 p.c mark. Those international locations are: the Bahamas, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Venezuela. Haiti is a very dire case, she stated, with lower than 1 p.c of the inhabitants totally vaccinated.

The well being group can be working to develop vaccine manufacturing within the area, and final week introduced {that a} facility in Brazil and one other in Argentina will obtain technical help to start manufacturing of messenger RNA vaccines, the kind used within the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna photographs.

But in the interim, “vaccine donations remain the fastest way to support countries in our region,” Dr. Etienne stated.

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