As vaccinations in the U.S. have slowed significantly from their peak, they have risen sharply in Latin America, with a host of countries now inoculating against Covid-19 at a far higher rate than their richer neighbor to the north.
The progress in Latin America is built on two factors that have gotten little attention: In many countries, people are eager to get vaccinated and largely trust vaccines, more so than in many richer countries, including the U.S.
At the same time, vaccine supply problems are being slowly overcome. Far greater numbers of vaccines are now arriving from the U.S., U.K., Russia and China, allowing local health officials to pick up the pace.
“Latin America has always been a champion for vaccination and people trust vaccines,” said Patricia García, a former Peruvian health minister and epidemiologist. “If we are able to get enough supply of the vaccines, we can catch up.”
Roughly two-thirds of people in Chile and Uruguay are fully vaccinated, compared with about half in the U.S. Most of the rest of Latin America is still behind the U.S. in the share of people with one or both vaccine doses, but a number of countries are closing the gap fast.