What You Should Know
- US Vaccine Diplomacy: On May 17, US President Biden announced the United States will donate 20 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to other countries, in addition to the 60 million announced last month.
- Spanish Vaccine Diplomacy: Spain will donate 5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Latin America and the Caribbean, equivalent to 5-10 percent of its total vaccine supply.
- 40 percent: Percentage of the world’s COVID-19 deaths recorded in the Americas last week.
- Herd Immunity? One tenth of the region’s population (659 million) has received at least one vaccine dose. To reach herd immunity, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) says approximately 500 million people will need to be vaccinated.
- Vaccine Tracker: The AstraZeneca vaccine is the most widely used in the region. For a breakdown of vaccine use, check out our vaccine tracker.
By the numbers
- Vaccinations per capita (vaccines administered per 100 people): Chile (89) #5 worldwide, Uruguay (71) #14 worldwide, Barbados (43) #36 worldwide, Dominican Republic (31) #51 worldwide, Brazil (26) #56 worldwide, Costa Rica (25) #57 worldwide, El Salvador (23) #60 worldwide, Argentina (23) #61 worldwide, Panama (20) #65 worldwide, Guyana (20) #66 worldwide, Source: nytimes.com
Health + Innovation
- P1: Brazil’s P.1 variant has been confirmed in Guyana. The COVID-19 strain has been recorded in 21 countries, including Argentina, Aruba, Canada, Mexico, Panama, and the United States.
- Sanofi-GSK: A vaccine under development by French pharmaceutical company, Sanofi, and British multinational pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline, is moving into late-stage trials after it generated strong immune responses in a phase 2 clinical trial.
- Saint Lucia: On May 12, Saint Lucia received a second batch of AstraZeneca vaccines from COVAX. As of May 13, 14 percent of its population had received the first vaccine dose.
- Vaccine Tourism: The World Committee on Tourism Ethics (WCTE) asked governments to not include COVID-19 vaccines as part of travel packages offered to foreign travelers.
- Pfizer: Brazil has signed a deal with Pfizer for an additional 100 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, bringing the total number of doses from the company to 200 million. Costa Rica is also purchasing additional doses from Pfizer (2 million in addition to the 4 million previously purchased).
- Panama: For the first time since the start of the pandemic, Panama recorded no COVID-19 deaths on May 16.
- Sinovac: The Chinese biopharmaceutical company is the leading supplier of vaccines in the Dominican Republic, accounting for 95 percent of the vaccines – 4.2 million doses – received. Previously, the Dominican Republic signed an agreement for a total of 8 million Sinovac vaccine doses.
Economies in Focus
- On May 17, Brazil’s Ministry of Economy increased its 2021 GDP forecast from 3.2 to 3.5 percent, while the inflation prediction also went up from 5.06 to 5.15 percent. The new adjustment was due to improved outlooks for economic activity in Q1.
- The Chilean peso fell 2.2 percent and was set for its worst day since January 2021, following a vote over the drafting of the new constitution. Chile’s economic recovery has been slower than expected amid a second COVID-19 wave and political uncertainty.
- Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (INEGI) projected that the economy likely expanded by 20.6 percent in April year-on-year. INEGI estimated that secondary sector activities, such as manufacturing, grew by 34.5 percent year-on-year. Tertiary sector activities including services likely expanded by 16.4 percent year-on-year.
- President-elect of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, has announced several tax reforms intended to stimulate the economy while complying with the general terms set out by the IMF. Some of the new measures include taxes on small and medium-size enterprises and a capital overflow tax.
- On May 11, El Salvador’s Congress approved and ratified loans for $730 million, including $200 million for local economic development, $20 million for micro and small businesses, and $15 million for COVID-19 pandemic response.
- The Inter-American Development Bank concludes that global tourism will take two to four years to recover. The IDB also notes that the Caribbean could either lead or lag the global recovery, depending on specific circumstances including vaccination roll-out.
- The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) stated that measures to boost post-COVID-19 economic recovery should focus on development that follows a more sustainable and inclusive model. ECLAC elaborated that such measures should be based on a transition toward inclusive digital revolution, renewable energy, circular economy, and sustainable tourism.
- The World Bank released a statement saying that despite initial predictions, remittance flows remained resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic, totaling $540 billion in 2020, just 1.6 percent below the 2019 total.
Social Transformations: Going Digital
- The Argentine Subsecretary of Open Government and Digital Country (Subsecretaria de Gobierno Abierto y País Digital) announced the creation on a COVID-19 vaccination database aimed at organizing, accelerating, and increasing efficiency of vaccine administration across the country. The database contain personal information for all users who request and obtain an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
- VitalPass, the first blockchain-based system to track COVID-19 vaccinations, launches this month in three Colombian cities–Medellín, Barranquilla, and Bogotá. Users vaccinated in one of three designated facilities in these cities will receive a digital copy of their vaccination card validated by the Instituto Prestador de Salud, an accredited healthcare provider.
- The International Data Corporation (IDC), an IT market research and intelligence company, predicts that by the end of 2021, almost three-quarters of medium and large-size businesses in Latin America will be closer to adopting cloud-based services.