Latin America Advisor

A Daily Publication of The Dialogue

Why Is Vaccine Rollout So Uneven in Latin America?

Latin America and Caribbean countries are seeing wide disparities in the percentage of people vaccinated against Covid-19. // File Photo: Pan American Health Organization.

Approximately 39 percent of the population of Latin American and the Caribbean has been vaccinated against Covid-19, the director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said Oct. 12 Countries including Chile and Uruguay have vaccinated more than 70 percent of their respective populations. However, Guatemala, Venezuela and Honduras – along with at least seven other countries – have fully vaccinated less than 25 percent of their people. Why are so many countries lagging behind the regional average? What does the disparity of vaccination rates mean for the region’s efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19? How is this affecting commercial and tourist relations between countries that have starkly different vaccination rates?


Erika Mouynes, Panama’s minister of foreign affairs: “Vaccine inequality threatens to amplify the effects of the pandemic. If wealthy countries continue to buy disproportionate amounts of vaccines, up to seven or 10 times the needs of their populations until 2023, regions such as Latin America and the Caribbean—the hardest hit from the pandemic, with more casualties per capita than any other region—will not be able to recover. For countries left entirely dependent on donations to immunize their citizens, the future will be dark for years to come. We are approaching a very dangerous tipping point. There are purchase agreements that leave middle- and low-income countries with few options to timely access vaccines against the new virus. They have been left alone to their own diplomatic devices and wealthy countries’ welfare. Some countries have signed deals with the…”

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The Inter-American Dialogue publishes the Latin America Advisor every business day for a distinguished membership of informed corporate leaders, scholars, and government officials invested in Latin America’s development and future. The Advisor‘s highly regarded Q&A section covers questions submitted by subscribers themselves. Commentators regularly include heads of state, business leaders, diplomats, economists, analysts, and thought leaders from around the world. Many of the world’s largest and fastest-growing companies subscribe to the Advisor. To subscribe click here or for more information, contact Erik Brand, publisher of the Advisor, at [email protected].

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