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Omicron in Haiti: Has the country dodged the Covid-19 bullet? | Opinion

By Ruolz Ariste

Haiti appears to be faring well against Covid 

Across the world’s continents, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has triggered a fourth wave of infections, at substantially higher rates. While the severity of cases is limited among those who are vaccinated, this is not the case for the non-vaccinated.

But in Haiti, as 2021 closed, this new variant still had not been detected in any great number, though it is very likely to be present, due to the very low screening carried out in the country. Since March 2020, only 149,525 tests had been recorded throughout the country, compared to nearly 2.6 million in the Dominican Republic (DR). Results of the analysis of samples are in progress in partner laboratories abroad to confirm whether the ultra-contagious variant Omicron is present. 

Meanwhile, only 1.1% of the Haitian population received a first dose of the “Spikevax” vaccine from the MODERNA Laboratory and 0.6% have had two doses. Public health authorities would consider the scenario of Omicron’s presence with such a very low vaccination rate a recipe for disaster. Yet, that is not the case, as can be seen in the figure below showing the 7-day rolling average of new Covid-19 deaths (per 100,000) for the United States, Canada, India, DR and Haiti from April 2020 to December 2021.

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