Following decades of positive experience in forecasting and procuring vaccines and supplies from the Revolving Fund, The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) aligned with WHO and its partners to implement the COVAX Facility in the Americas. The COVID-19 pandemic represented an unprecedented challenge, and COVAX was the best way for PAHO’s Member States to access safe and effective doses equitably. COVAX doses arrived in Latin America in the first week of March 2021, only two months after high-income countries received and applied the first COVID-19 vaccine.

© WHO / PAHO On 16 March 2021 Nicaragua received 135 000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine through COVAX.

COVID-19 has affected every country, and the beginning of the vaccine rollout has seen…

This article is part of a series of explainers on vaccine development and distribution. Learn more about vaccines — from how they work and how they’re made to ensuring safety and equitable access — in WHO’s Vaccines Explained series.

Vaccines are supported by decades of medical research. They work by preparing the body’s own immune system to recognise and defend against a specific disease. The volume of information available about vaccination can be overwhelming, so it’s important to talk through the topic.

It’s normal to have questions about vaccines and want to make the right decision for you and your…

Millions of tonnes of toxic electronic waste are dumped each year, putting children’s health at risk.

The Felipe Cardozo neighbourhood is a settlement located across from the main garbage dump in Montevideo. © WHO / Blink Media / Tali Kimelman

Electronic waste, or e-waste, is the world’s fastest growing domestic waste stream. According to the Global E-waste Statistics Partnership (GESP), a record 53.6 million tonnes of e-waste was produced in 2019, increasing 21% in just five years. By 2050, the volume of e-waste could top 120 million tonnes annually. Currently only 17.4% of it is recycled responsibly.

Safely disposing of e-waste is hazardous, complex and expensive. Some e-waste ends up in normal waste bins, while significant amounts are shipped to low- and middle-income countries, often illegally. …

Remaining active and engaged in society has a major influence on health in older people.

Khoo Kim Chai, Chua Cheng Leong and Cheng Wang Moy enjoy a virtual performance during Variety Hour in Outram Community Hospital in Singapore. © WHO / Blink Media / Juliana Tan

Longer life expectancies and declining fertility rates mean that the Western Pacific Region has one of the largest and fastest-growing older populations in the world. As a result, society and health systems are evolving to support people throughout their life through methods such as long-term care and community level social services.

The disease can be eliminated with improved access to vaccination, screening and treatment.

Nurse Peace counsels a patient prior to a cervical cancer screening in Minna, Nigeria. © WHO / Blink Media / Etinosa Yvonne

Cervical cancer, which is caused by certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), presents a significant public health threat to women on the African continent — all but one of the top 20 countries worldwide with the highest burden of cervical cancer in 2018 were in Africa.

Cervical cancer is curable if diagnosed and treated early. The tragedy is that while this type of cancer is preventable, poor access to prevention, screening and treatment contributes to 90% of deaths.

In the past 18 months, health workers from 92 facilities around the country have been trained in primary ear and hearing care.

Alice Makofi with her daughter Memory Chisenga at their home in Chambeshi Village, Zambia. Memory recieved treatment for a severe ear infection at a health facility in their district. © WHO / Gareth Bentley

In Zambia, it is estimated that 4–6% of the population have hearing loss, and many more suffer from ear diseases. Yet there are only five ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists and one audiologist for the country’s 17 million people.

To help address this gap, following the World Health Assembly in 2017, the Government of Zambia adopted a plan to develop quality ear and hearing care services as close to people as possible.

In response to rising rates of noncommunicable diseases, NCD Coordinators like Virginia Legaile work with patients to improve their health from a holistic perspective.

Virginia Legaile, a nurse and NCD coordinator, holds pineapple and wheat from her garden. © WHO / Neil Nuia

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and chronic lung diseases are the leading cause of death in Solomon Islands. They are also a major cause of morbidity and mortality in a country where health facilities were designed to treat acute illness.

By testing procedures, simulation exercises help prepare countries for successful vaccine roll-outs.

Rajwantee Lutchman, a registered nurse, practices the steps to administer COVID-19 vaccine during a simulation exercise at the Siparia District Health Facility on 6 March 2021. © WHO/ Kibwe Brathwaite

Trinidad and Tobago received 33 600 doses of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility on 30 March 2021, and more vaccines are expected to arrive in the coming months.

COVAX is a global effort to accelerate equitable access to vaccines and ensure that they reach all those who need to receive them. In order to be eligible to receive vaccines via COVAX, countries must demonstrate that they are ready to use them.

Everyone, everywhere can do their part in helping to vaccinate the world and end the COVID-19 pandemic.

Spray Eshaghzay draws vaccine from a vial at a WHO-supported COVID-19 vaccinators’ training session at the office of the Agency for Assistance and Development of Afghanistan (AADA) in Herat, Afghanistan. © WHO / Andrew Quilty

Vaccines are a critical tool in the battle against COVID-19, but a gap is growing between countries who can afford them and those that can’t. We can all be part of the solution with an international initiative called COVAX. It is the only global initiative that is working with governments and manufacturers to buy COVID-19 vaccines for the world, starting with those who need them the most.

This article is part of a series of explainers on vaccine development and distribution. Learn more about vaccines — from how they work and how they’re made to ensuring safety and equitable access — in WHO’s Vaccines Explained series.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe, and getting vaccinated will help protect you against developing severe COVID-19 disease and dying from COVID-19. You may experience some mild side effects after getting vaccinated, which are signs that your body is building protection.

Why it’s normal to have mild side effects from vaccines

Vaccines are designed to give you immunity without the dangers of getting the disease. It’s common to experience some mild-to-moderate side effects

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