The director of the Pan American Well being Group (PAHO), Dr. Carissa F Etienne, on Wednesday warned that whereas the Americas, together with the Caribbean, urgently awaits a breakthrough, the regional well being group will solely help the distribution of a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine that has confirmed to be “secure and efficient” in medical trials reviewed by Nationwide Regulatory Authorities and beneficial by the World Well being Group (WHO).
“You will need to emphasize that whereas we’re working to develop a vaccine quicker than ever earlier than, the method to ensure its security and efficacy is unchanged,” Etienne advised a press briefing.
She famous that there’s a pipeline of greater than 180 vaccine candidates underneath research, with 11 in part III medical trials.
What has modified “is the unprecedented consideration on the vaccine growth course of,” Dr. Etienne, highlighting the “over-abundance of data from quite a few sources, some much less dependable than others and never primarily based on science, which has led to confusion and misinformation round vaccine security.”
The PAHO director emphasised that vaccines are designed and manufactured with security in thoughts.
She stated that when a COVID-19 vaccine proves secure and efficient in a medical trial, regulatory businesses totally consider the info previous to granting approvals, and WHO may even oversee an unbiased assessment course of earlier than granting its personal suggestion.
“How we talk about COVID-19 will make our skill to regulate the pandemic,” Dr. Etienne stated, calling for regional nations, the media, regulatory authorities, the non-public sector and the scientific group to return collectively to offer the general public with “clear, concise and science-based details about a future COVID-19 vaccine.”
She stated an essential issue to determine belief within the new vaccines is to make sure their accessibility to all nations, including that PAHO is supporting nations to realize entry to those vaccines by the COVAX facility.
“Just about each nation in Latin America and the Caribbean has joined or is within the means of becoming a member of the power,” stated Etienne stated, stating that nations are taking the mandatory authorized and budgetary steps to take part on this progressive international partnership.
“We’re actively collaborating with monetary establishments, just like the Inter-American Growth Financial institution, to help nations in our area entry the funding wanted to buy vaccines by the COVAX Facility when they’re out there, she added.
“PAHO’s Revolving Fund, with greater than 40 years of expertise offering reasonably priced and high quality vaccines to nations in Latin American and the Caribbean, will probably be, together with UNICEF (the United Nations Youngsters’s Fund), the acquisition mechanism for the COVAX facility,” Dr. Etienne continued.
Within the Caribbean, she stated 11 nations will obtain monetary help for preliminary funds to hitch the COVAX facility, in collaboration with the Caribbean Public Well being Company and the European Union.
The PAHO director stated there have been over 40 million circumstances and over 1.1 million deaths worldwide as a result of COVID-19, together with 18.9 million circumstances within the Area of the Americas and over 610,000 deaths as of October 20.
“Throughout our area, round 100,000 folks proceed to check constructive for COVID-19 each day,” Etienne lamented.
She pointed to traits that present circumstances rising in the USA and Canada, and plateauing throughout Central America, whereas most new circumstances within the Caribbean are associated to non-essential worldwide journey.
Dr. Etienne stated these spikes present that, whereas the area is “exhausting at work making ready for a vaccine, we should additionally maintain a powerful and regular course to proceed preventing the virus with out one.”
She urged all nations to “prioritize a clear and proactive communications strategy for COVID-19.
“The folks of our area crave clear steering,” Dr. Etienne stated. “Speaking successfully and persistently about what they will do to guard themselves and keep away from an infection stays important.
“Testing, treating and isolating circumstances, in addition to tracing contacts are all a part of surveillance technique; and, too few nations are doing this effectively in our area,” she added. “It’s as essential now because it was in April. “And it is going to be much more essential as soon as we now have a vaccine.”