By Devin Watkins
The Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network kicked off its “Vacuna Amazzonia”, or “Amazonia Vaccination”, campaign this week in a bid to boost vaccination rates in the Latin American region.
REPAM, as the network is known, hopes to overcome a host of hurdles, including disinformation regarding Covid-19 vaccines and a lack of available jabs.
The initiative comes at the same time as the region’s official death toll from the pandemic hit 100,000.
REPAM, a Catholic network which promotes the rights of indigenous peoples, says the Amazonia region has suffered from below-average vaccination rates, even as more infectious variants circulate.
“The factors that are causing this problem include a lack of sufficient vaccines to inoculate the population in the Amazonia and the diffusion of disinformation in various parts of the region,” according to a REPAM note sent to Fides news agency.
Disinformation is among the greatest hurdles facing the vaccination campaign.
“Many people have refused to get vaccinated,” reads the statement. “This situation—which is aggravated by the presence of new variants of the virus that are more dangerous and deadlier—is putting people’s lives at risk.”
Cry from the wilderness
In response, REPAM launched the “Amazonia Vaccination” campaign to call the world’s attention to the developing tragedy facing people in the region.
The Church-run network is also calling on national governments “not to hold back in efforts to buy and distribute vaccines destined for the Amazonia region, especially in favor of the poorest and most vulnerable people.”
REPAM is also urging people to get their jab and not give it to false information regarding Covid-19 vaccines.
“Communities need to motivate and encourage people to do their part to promote the common good,” concludes the note.
The Amazonia vaccination campaign comes as the Delta variant is causing a surge in cases in various parts of the globe.
Several areas of Australia, which has seen relatively few cases during the pandemic, are battling the wave despite a weeks-long lockdown and restrictions on foreign travel.
Several American states are recording caseloads not seen in over six months. The US saw over 100,000 new infections on Wednesday.
Places like Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines are also seeking to clamp down as Covid-19 once again disrupts daily life.
Jabs that pack a punch
Vaccines approved by most governments, and which have seen regular efficacy data released, have proved successful at preventing a very high percentage of deaths and serious symptoms from the coronavirus.
A South African study released on Friday showed that Johnson & Johnson’s jab offers reliable protection against even the Delta variant, which first emerged in India.
A months-long trial indicated the vaccine offers 91% to 96% protection against death, while offering 71% efficacy against infection by the Delta variant, and 67% against the Beta variant.