At the beginning of February, a yellow fever outbreak was reported in isolated areas of Paraguay. On 15th of this month, its government declared a 90 day national state of emergency as the population’s worries mounted as number of reported cases grew to over 30 in several areas of country that included the capital, Asuncion,, with between three and seven deaths reportedly caused by a disease that is at best serious and often fatal. To combat this serious problem, Paraguay has purchased two million doses of the vaccine from world health authorities, and France is also loaning the state another two million doses. There have been some complaints from Paraguayans about lack of vaccines and long queues for treatment. News stories may prefer to dwell on these isolated incidents but on the whole the state is effectively treating its population. However, the reaction from other South American countries has been noteworthy. Brazil has donated 800,000 doses of the necessary vaccine to Paraguay, Venezuela 144,000 doses, Peru 100,000 doses, Bolivia 50,000 doses. All these shots have already been delivered to Paraguay, with another 50,000 doses about to arrive from Colombia. It should be noted that this aid comes from countries whose economies are rich, poor and all stages in between and whose political leanings cross the entire spectrum of regional views. There are more important things than economics and politics. The response from Brazil, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia and Colombia is a timely reminder of the underlying fraternal spirit of the continent and should be warmly applauded.
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