What you should know
- Omicron: The presence of the COVID-19 variant has been confirmed in at least 27 countries and territories across the region as of January 10.
- Second booster: As the world grapples with a surge in COVID-19 cases, Chile and Brazil are administering a second booster shot, citing initial use of less-effective Chinese-made vaccines.
- 60 percent: The share of fully vaccinated population in Latin America and the Caribbean as of January 2.
Vaccination by the numbers
Vaccinations per capita (vaccines administered per 100 people): Cuba (280) #1 worldwide, Chile (238) #2 worldwide, Uruguay (204) #10 worldwide, Argentina (179) #30 worldwide, Ecuador (162) #41 worldwide, Brazil (160) #43 worldwide, Costa Rica (159) #45 worldwide, Peru (158) #46 worldwide, El Salvador (150) #56 worldwide, Panama (143) #62 worldwide, Dominican Republic (132) #70 worldwide. Source: nytimes.com
Percentage of population fully vaccinated: Chile (88) #4 worldwide, Cuba (86) #7 worldwide, Uruguay (77) #21 worldwide, Argentina (74) #28 worldwide, Ecuador (74) #31 worldwide, Costa Rica (71) #39 worldwide, Brazil (69) #45 worldwide, Peru (67) #48 worldwide, El Salvador (65) #55 worldwide, Panama (58) #70 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: The first country in Latin America to declare COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for its population and all foreign travelers.
- Colombia: The latest country to reduce COVID-19 booster vaccine waiting time to four months after completing initial vaccinations.
- 134,439: The record number of daily COVID-19 infections registered in Argentina on January 11 – 34,000 more than the record set the previous week.
- Brazil: Health Minister Marcelo Quiroga announced that Omicron has become the predominant strain in the country.
- President López-Obrador: Amid the latest wave of infections fueled by the Omicron variant, Mexico’s president tested positive again after overcoming COVID-19 in early 2021.
- 46.7 million euros: The loan Cuba expects to receive from the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) to help bolster its COVID-19 vaccine program and ramp up production.
- 701 percent: The increase between weekly caseloads in Guyana from December 29 to January 5.
Economies in focus
- On January 7, top investment firms reduced their predictions for Brazil’s 2022 economic growth from 0.36 percent to 0.28 percent following a technical recession in Q3 2021.
- On January 11, the Central Bank of the Argentine Republic raised its inflation estimate to 54.8 percent for 2022.
- The market for online patient telecommunication services in South and Central America is expected to reach $278.9 million by 2027 from $79.7 million in 2019.
- Vice President Harris announced that new private sector investments to boost economic recovery and curb migration in Central America now reach $1.2 billion.
- The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) projects Mexico’s economy to expand by 3.3 percent in 2022, fueled by an improvement in the labor market and a rise in vaccinations.
Social transformations: Digitalization as a tool for regional recovery
- The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for greater digital access in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2021, less than 50 percent of the region had fixed broadband connectivity.
- In their Caribbean Quarterly Bulletin Regional Overview, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) estimated that closing the digital access gap between Caribbean economies and OECD member countries could increase the region’s GDP by about 6 to 12 percent.
- Increasing digital access allows for distance learning, digital cash transfers, telemedicine, and online public services—critical not only during the pandemic but for long-term regional prosperity.