A call for COVID-19 immunization campaigns that address the specific circumstances of indigenous peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean

Elsevier, The Lancet Regional Health - Americas, Volume 3, 2021, 100074
Zeus Aranda, Marcos Arana-Cedeño, David Mariano Meléndez-Navarro, Sergio Meneses-Navarro, Héctor Javier Sánchez-Pérez,

COVID-19 immunization in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) has been subject to low vaccine availability and unequal distribution of doses among countries.1 In addition, historically marginalized populations in LAC, such as indigenous peoples, have suffered from the omission of their specific circumstances in national COVID-19 immunization plans, which represents an additional threat to the immunization coverage of these communities. Most national immunization plans did not involve indigenous communities’ representatives in their development, and lack sociocultural appropriateness, use of indigenous languages, and consideration of the living conditions and socioeconomic adversities affecting these populations.2,3 This is compounded by the repeated violation of indigenous peoples’ rights by government health professionals, which has led to mistrust and reluctance of some indigenous communities to use government health services,4 as well as the misinformation campaigns around COVID-19 that have plagued the continent.5 Lack of official information, poor access to immunization services and mistrust may be affecting COVID-19 immunization coverage among indigenous populations, which is difficult to demonstrate as most countries do not r