Aviso LatAm: COVID-19 September 3, 2021

​​​​​What you should know

  • 100 million: The number of doses that will be produced annually following a deal between Brazil’s Eurofarma, Pfizer, and BioNTech to expand COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing in the region.
  • 30: The number of proposals the World Health Organization is analyzing to manufacture messenger RNA vaccines after announcing a new program to expand vaccine production in the region to address global vaccine inequity.
  • Over 7.2: The percentage increase of vaccines administered in the region between August 22 and August 29 compared to the preceding week, a sign of continued pick up in regional immunization.
  • 5.9 percent: The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) raised its regional economic growth forecast, as expectations for a post-COVID recovery increased.

Vaccination by the numbers

  • Vaccinations per capita (vaccines administered per 100 people): Uruguay (161) #2 worldwide, Chile (152) #6 worldwide, Cuba (121) #30 worldwide, Ecuador (111) #40 worldwide, Dominican Republic (103) #46 worldwide, Panama (103) #47 worldwide, El Salvador (98) #49 worldwide, Argentina (94) #53 worldwide, Brazil (91) #58 worldwide, Costa Rica (80) #64 worldwide, Barbados (71) #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

  • Brazil: The latest country to surpass the United States in the percentage of citizens with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. 
  • 25 million: The number of students expected to return to the classroom following 17 months of school closures in Mexico. This move comes amid a third wave of the pandemic for Mexico.
  • Inovio: Following authorization from Brazil’s regulatory agency, the pharmaceutical company will begin Phase 3 trials of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Jararacussu: Brazilian researchers have found that a molecule in the pit viper’s venom inhibited COVID-19’s ability to multiply in monkey cells, a possible first step toward a drug to combat coronavirus.
  • St. Lucia: Due to a spike in COVID-19 cases, the US warned against travel to the island. The announcement will hinder tourism activities vital to the country’s economic recovery.
  • 6 million: The number of COVID-19 vaccines Spain has sent to Latin America and the Caribbean via COVAX out of the 7.5 million doses promised. The first wave of donations were delivered to Peru, Guatemala, Paraguay, and Nicaragua.
  • Sinopharm: After deploying its homegrown vaccines exclusively, Cuba will also start administering the Chinese-developed doses.
  • Mu: The World Health Organization is monitoring a new coronavirus variant, which was first identified in Colombia in January 2021.
  • 2.7 million: The number of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses Honduras will purchase to ensure the country will have enough for all Hondurans over 12 years old this year.
  • Mexico: Researchers at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) have created a facemask using silver and copper nanolayers that neutralized SARS-CoV-2.

Economies in focus

  • Peru is set to experience a 10.6 percent GDP growth in 2021, nearly double the regional growth projection.
  • Colombia’s central bank sold nearly $2.8 billion in reserves after the IMF approved a general allocation of Special Drawing Rights to boost global liquidity. The Colombian government plans to use the money to finance its 2022 budget.
  • Brazil’s real rose 0.2 percent after outpacing its emerging market peers last week, as the government agreed to Supreme Court proposals that will help keep fiscal spending in check.
  • Following positive noises around $45 billion in debt talks with the IMF, Argentina’s S&P Merval stock index is up almost 30 percent in dollar terms for 2021.
  • Peru will allot $6.82 billion (about 14.1 percent) of its 2022 Public Sector Budget Bill for the contingency reserve to combat a possible third wave of COVID-19 infections. 

Social transformations: Crypto fever

  • Interests in cryptocurrency skyrocketed in Latin America during the pandemic. Regional crypto exchanges such as Bitso and Mercado Bitcoin achieved unicorn status this year.
  • The first cryptocurrency ATM opened in Honduras on August 27, as bitcoin backers sought to spur demand for virtual assets after El Salvador is slated to adopt it as legal tender on September 7.
  • The machine, locally dubbed “la bitcoinera,” allows users to acquire bitcoin and Ethereum using the local lempira currency and was installed in Tegucigalpa by Honduran firm TGU Consulting Group.
  • Elsewhere in the region, lawmakers introduced draft bills in Panama that regulate bitcoin and its status as a legal tender.