South America now winning global vaccination race

For much of 2020 and early 2021, South America was ground zero in the global fight against COVID-19.

Back then, oxygen ran low in Peru… Gravediggers worked through the night in Sao Paulo…

But now - South America is the most COVID-vaccinated region in the world, according to government data collected from the ‘Our World in Data’ project.

Over 63 percent of South America’s population is now fully inoculated – a higher percentage than in Europe.

And while last year Brazil saw its COVID-19 death toll rise to the second-highest in the world - after the United States - the current high rate of vaccinations has caused infection and death rates to plummet.

Infectious Disease Expert, Roberto Medronho:

"Despite the fact that President Jair Bolsonaro is one of the most vocal leaders against the vaccine in Brazil, the Brazilian population is already used to many vaccination campaigns and is being massively vaccinated."

Past vaccination campaigns waged a war against smallpox, meningitis, polio and measles… and built public trust.

Experts say the region’s effective public health messaging has also been key.

But vaccination rates among children vary dramatically in South America… with authorities in some countries relatively slow to approve shots for minors.

And experts say the region is far from out of the woods just yet, as the highly transmissible Omicron variant – which may be more adept at dodging the immunity generated by previous COVID-19 infections - spreads across the globe.

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