PAHO: Societies could begin returning to normal in a year if the world can commit to high level of immunization
“To reach this level is the main objective we have now”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has estimated global immunization must reach at least 70 to 80 percent before the COVID-19 pandemic can be considered to be under control.
During a weekly press briefing yesterday, Assistant Director of PAHO Dr Jarbas Barbosa noted that eradication of the virus in one year may not be possible, especially given the challenges of countries in accessing vaccines and the “many uncertainties” that could happen.
“We hope in one year we have this pandemic under control,” Barbosa said.
“But, again, this is very related to the access of every country in the world to the vaccines that they need.
“We don’t know yet what is the immunization COVID level that you need to control the transmission, but some estimation says that you need at least 70 to 80 percent. To reach this level is the main objective we have now.
“With this kind of commitment in the whole world, we can have in one year at least transmission control and the societies coming to alive again.”
He explained that the eradication of COVID can only be achieved when the disease is completely eliminated, such as with smallpox.
“The control is different. Control is when you have a transmission that is at a low level, that cannot disrupt society, that cannot cause any harm to society and health,” he said.
According to National COVID-19 Vaccine Consultative Committee Chair Dr Merceline Dahl-Regis, more than 50,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine have been administered on New Providence, Grand Bahama and throughout the Family Islands.
Some 32,631 first doses and 4,893 second doses have been administered on New Providence and 6,381 first doses and 1,123 second doses have been administered on Grand Bahama.
The Bahamas recorded 25 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, all on New Providence and including one case with a recent history of travel.
The country has recorded 11,622 cases since the start of the pandemic, with the number of active cases now standing at 814.