COVID: Mexico celebrates one year of vaccine application without reaching full coverage

This Friday, December 24, Mexico celebrates one year since it supplied the first vaccine against the coronavirus COVID-19, but the scenario is not yet conclusive.

To this day, Mexico has not reached the totality in the application of the complete doses among its inhabitants, and even worse, the federal government has been strongly criticized by opponents and scientists who point out a lack of planning and politicization of the issue.

With a folder full of documents under his arm, Víctor Manuel Sánchez, 64, leaves the vaccination center of the Vasconcelos Library in Mexico City after receiving his third dose of AstraZeneca.

Sánchez, who spent 14 days in intensive care for COVID-19 in 2020, is one of the more than 12 million Mexicans over 60 years of age who can already receive their reinforcement, in this way the country celebrates one year since the first application of the biological.

When nurse María Irene Ramírez, 59, received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Mexico it had become the first Latin American nation, with the exception of Puerto Rico, to administer the drug.

However, and After 12 months, the country has only managed to inoculate 56% of its total population with both doses and 7.32% have only had half of the scheme, in addition to the fact that vaccination for children under 15 years of age has not yet been approved.

These figures distance it from other countries in the region that began to inject later, such as Chile (86%), Uruguay (77%), Ecuador (68%) and Brazil (67%).

“Having started earlier has not given us advantages. We have a lot of experience in vaccination campaigns, but the mistake has been made of delegating responsibility to other people, such as the Ministry of Welfare (in charge of programs to address poverty),” he assured Efe Malaquías López, academic at the Faculty of Medicine of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

For Alejandro Macías, who was the Mexican czar against the AH1N1 flu pandemic in 2009, the pace has not been as desired due to the acquisition of vaccines abroad, the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Relations (SRE), after the It stalled for months the operation to package up to 250 million AstraZeneca units within the country in coordination with Argentina to distribute them on the continent.

“Mexico had up to eight different vaccines and that made it more logistically complicated,” Macías told Efe.

Figures that fall short

It was not until May that AstraZeneca’s packaging in Mexico began to actually carburet and since then it has managed to produce around 70 million.

The government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has boasted of a successful campaign, and even celebrated with “mission accomplished” at the end of October when the objective was achieved of ensuring that 100% of Mexicans over 18 years of age have had the option of accessing at least one dose.

These signs of victory are far from the opinion of experts and epidemiologists, who argue that These amounts are of little use if it is not taken into account that the important thing is that the greatest number of Mexicans have the complete scheme.

Until now, Mexico has received almost 200 million vaccines and it has delivered more than 148 million, leaving around 54 million doses that have not yet been applied.

Despite the fact that the percentage of the population that has all the doses does not reach 60%, since the beginning of the health crisis the government has used the number of adults over 18 years inoculated as a reference (89%).

Controversial decisions

The official figures from the Ministry of Health also contradict the triumphalist tone of the López Obrador Administration, since the only group that has reached 100% full doses is the medical personnel, without considering the private health workers, who were not included and had to wait to be injected with their age groups, or well they traveled to the United States.

Unlike a large number of countries, such as the European Union or the United States, the stages in the vaccination campaign were not limited to age groups. In January López Obrador decided that the group that would follow that of the elderly would be the teachers, a bet to resume face-to-face classes after Easter.

The maneuver was criticized, especially for the application of the Chinese drug CanSino.

“This has been like hitting the piñata blindfolded, there have been political and not scientific motivations. For example, CanSino is still a mystery, we do not know if it is good or bad, there is no data,” López criticized.

As a way to commemorate the first anniversary of the arrival of vaccines to Mexico, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Marcelo Ebrard, led an act of gratitude where, among others, the CEO of AstraZeneca for Mexico, Julio Ordaz, and the Senior Director of Government Liaison at Pfizer, Lizeth de la Torre.

“We have to improve many things, but we are a successful country and we have to assume it,” said Ebrard at the event.



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