WASHINGTON, United States (CMC) – Jamaica is included in a list of five Caribbean countries that may not meet the goal of having 40 per cent of their populations vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).
PAHO said on Wednesday that while its projections are that most countries in the region will have reached or surpassed the WHO target of vaccinating 40 per cent of their eligible populations by the end of 2021, “the current estimates are that Haiti, Jamaica, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Guatemala, St Lucia, and Grenada may not attain that 40 per cent coverage goal”.
To date, about 57.3 per cent of the population in Latin America and the Caribbean has completed their COVID-19 vaccination schedules.
Over 868 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Meantime, PAHO said, the region of the Americas has now surpassed 100 million cases of COVID-19.
In the Caribbean, the PAHO analysis showed cases increased by 16 per cent.
Trinidad and Tobago, which has confirmed cases of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus, continues to report an increase in cases, and while Barbados and the Cayman Islands have reported large numbers of cases, these are now decreasing, PAHO said.
The Omicron variant has now been reported in at least 19 countries and territories of the Americas, including Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Guadeloupe, Saint Martin, and Trinidad and Tobago.
PAHO said it continues to recommend vaccination and public health measures to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and halt the transmission of the virus. These include wearing masks, maintaining physical distance from others, frequent hand washing, and avoiding crowded spaces, especially indoors.
“These measures are effective against all variants, including Omicron,” PAHO Director Dr Carissa Etienne said recently. “Countries should sustain their public health measures to limit transmission of the virus and adjust them according to local transmission risks.