Aviso LatAm: COVID-19 December 17, 2021

​​​​​What you should know

  • 56 percent: The share of the region’s population fully vaccinated against COVID-19. But 20 countries have yet to reach WHO’s year-end goal of 40 percent coverage.
  • Omicron: The latest COVID-19 variant is present in 7 countries across the region including Ecuador, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and Brazil.
  • PAHO: Officials stated that national regulatory authorities will play a key role in ramping up vaccine manufacturing across Latin America and the Caribbean.

Note: This will be the final Aviso LatAm: COVID-19 of 2021. We wish you a safe and healthy New Year.

Vaccination by the numbers

Vaccinations per capita (vaccines administered per 100 people): Cuba (256) #1 worldwide, Chile (223) #3 worldwide, Uruguay (199) #4 worldwide, Argentina (160) #31 worldwide, Brazil (152) #37 worldwide, Ecuador (149) #41 worldwide, Costa Rica (146) #48 worldwide, El Salvador (146) #49 worldwide, Peru (138) #57 worldwide, Panama (134) #62 worldwide, Dominican Republic (130) #66 worldwide, Source: nytimes.com

Percentage of population fully vaccinated: Chile (86) #5 worldwide, Cuba (83) #8 worldwide, Uruguay (77) #19 worldwide, Argentina (69) #39 worldwide, Ecuador (68) #41 worldwide, Costa Rica (67) #46 worldwide, Brazil (66) #47 worldwide, El Salvador (64) #51 worldwide, Peru (61) #62 worldwide, Panama (58) #69 worldwide, , Source nytimes.com

Geopolitics of vaccine donations: US vs. China

  • The United States outpaces China in its donations of COVID-19 vaccines to Latin America and the Caribbean, with Colombia and Mexico topping the list. The region has received roughly 52 percent of all US COVID-19 vaccine donations. To learn more, visit our COVID-19 vaccine tracker: Latin America and the Caribbean.

Health + Innovation

  • Ecuador: A mass vaccination plan, “Vacunatón,” was announced to immunize over 85 percent of the population before year end.
  • Brazil: The supreme court ruled that foreign travelers must show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to enter the country. Brazil currently has the world’s second highest death toll.
  • 50 percent: The share of Colombia’s population fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Chihuahua: The Mexican border state shut down in-person classes at all public and private schools following the latest COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Colombia: The Ministry of Health mandated that all foreign visitors must present proof of full vaccination 14 days prior to travel.
  • Lapsus$ Group: The alleged hackers cyberattacked Brazil’s health ministry website, taking down several systems including one with information about the national immunization program.
  • Mexico: The national stockpile of unused COVID-19 vaccines surpassed 50 million last week, as Mexico’s vaccination campaign lags behind regional peers.

Economies in focus

Economic Impact

  • The World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) found that formal employment fell 5.3 percent across Latin America and the Caribbean while self-employment grew 5.7 percent in the last year.
  • Due in part to inflationary pressures, Brazil’s economy fell into recession in Q3 of 2021 following two consecutive quarters of economic contraction. 
  • In the last year, Haiti’s unemployment rate surpassed 52 percent while those employed worked an average of only 33 hours per week. 
  • Central banks in Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Brazil increased interest rates to curb rising inflation. 

Economic Recovery

  • Remote work in the region increased by 66 percent since the pandemic onset. 
  • Colombia’s GDP grew 5.7 percent in the third quarter, led by retail and manufacturing sectors. 
  • Peru raised interest rates for a fifth consecutive month as the economy grows at the fastest pace in the region. 

International Support

  • Mexican President López Obrador thanked China for its economic support against COVID-19 at the 3rd Ministerial Meeting of the Forum between China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). 

Social transformations: The pandemic’s impact on hunger and long-term health

  • Data from phone surveys from the World Bank and the UNDP revealed that food insecurity still affects 23.9 percent of households in Latin America and the Caribbean.  
  • Food security dropped 9 percent from 2019-2020 throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, a higher rate than any other region. 
  • The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reported that rising food insecurity led to the highest prevalence of hunger across the region in 15 years. 
  • Food insecurity is particularly severe in Caribbean countries such as Haiti, Jamaica, Dominica, St. Lucia, Guyana, and Belize.