Guatemala: As COVID misinformation spreads, vaccine doses expire

Jeff Abbott writes in Al Jazeera about the low take up of the COVID vaccine in Guatemala, the reasons for this, including conspiracy theorists, and the consequences regarding the expiration of the doses that were available.

This is something to be added to the charge sheet against the government and all those responsible.


On a recent afternoon, the COVID-19 vaccination centre in the heart of the Indigenous Mayan town of Santiago Atitlan was quiet. The health centre had a vaccine supply, but demand was low.

The lack of coordination of a Guatemalan government-led campaign to overcome vaccine hesitancy has resulted in the expiration of millions of doses across the country this year, critics have said, as more than half of the population remains unvaccinated.

[…]

Guatemala has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the Americas, with about 48 percent of the population receiving at least one dose and fewer than 20 percent receiving three doses, according to health ministry data. The Guatemalan government has cited the resistance of the population to its vaccination campaigns as the reason for the mass expiry of doses.

[…]

Guatemala’s vaccine rollout was chaotic from the outset, as the country was late in obtaining doses and relied largely on donations. The government also faced criticism for failing to develop an adequate vaccination strategy, particularly in rural areas that lack internet access and mobile phone coverage. All of which eroded public trust.

Compounding matters, alleged anomalies in the government’s $160m deal to buy millions of doses of the Sputnik V vaccine spurred an investigation by the country’s anti-corruption prosecutor’s office.


You can read the full article, including links and photos, here, Guatemala: As COVID misinformation spreads, vaccine doses expire.



Categories: Corruption, Human Rights, Impunity, Indigenous peoples, Poverty

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