MEXICO CITY – Mexico on Thursday began its coronovirus vaccination campaign, becoming the first country in Latin America to do so, and offers a piece of hope to the population amid the horrific resurgence of the virus.
The 59-year-old, Maria Irene Ramirez, the head nurse at Ruben Linero Hospital in Mexico City, was the first person in the country to focus on health workers in December, January and January as part of the government’s strategy to get the Pfizer-BioNotech vaccine. Older Mexicans are considered the most at risk before February.
“This is the best gift I can get in 2020,” Ms. Ramirez said during the ceremony, which was broadcast on national television. “We are afraid, but we have to keep going because someone has to face this battle.”
Latin America has become an epicenter of the epidemic, with inequality, a large informal work force, densely packed cities and a fragile health system hampering efforts to prevent the spread of the virus and treat the sick.
Countries in the region, led by Brazil and Mexico, closed some of the world’s highest death tolls, as economies fell under the weight of lockdown and government mismanagement.
The first dose of the Pfizer-BioNotech vaccine has also arrived in Costa Rica and Chile, with both countries beginning vaccination on Thursday. The first 300,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V were launched in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Thursday morning.
Vaccination efforts in Mexico are beginning as a new wave of the virus has called for hospitals and led authorities to lockdown in the capital Mexico City and three other states. More than 120,000 people have died nationwide, although limited testing means the actual count may be much higher.
By mid-November, according to official figures, more than 250,000 people had died this year, with an additional mortality rate suggesting a far-reaching toll.
With widespread mistrust of public institutions, many Mexicans have avoided going to the hospital and instead prefer to be treated and die at home, so that the cause of their illness or death is officially known as Kovid-19. Not recorded in
The country’s response to the outbreak has been widely criticized, with President Andrés Manuel López Obredor publicly refusing to wear the mask and continuing public rallies around the country.
Last week, Mexico City officials raised the capital’s epidemic alert level to red, the highest status, triggering a shutdown of all but essential businesses. But the federal government had data that should have prompted an immediate lockdown in early December. Instead, it kept the capital open for two weeks.
Nationwide hospitals have reached levels last seen during the first peak of the summer outbreak. According to official figures, 85 percent of the beds in Mexico City are full, where doctors are begging on social media to stay home to residents.
A study published this week by academics at Stanford University and Mexico’s Center for Research and Teaching in Economics found that at current rates, there was a strong possibility that hospital capacity in the capital would be depleted by early January 2021. The study has not yet been peer reviewed.
On Wednesday, officials said more than 300 health care workers from other states had arrived in Mexico City to support the bereaved doctors and nurses of the capital.
“Mexico is in a bad condition,” said World Health Organization director Tedros Adnom Ghebius at a press conference in Geneva late last month.
And with Mr. López Obredor’s government’s continued push for austerity, Mexico is one of the few countries in Latin America to be in the midst of an economic downturn without meaningful economic support for its citizens that is up to 9 percent of the country’s economic output Can be erased.
Given the grim outlook, Mexico has tremendous expectations in the vaccine, which will be available free nationwide. The country has contracts with both Pfizer and AstraZeneca as well as Chinese-Canadian firm CanSino. Vaccination will continue through March 2022.
“With vaccines for all Mexicans, this is going to give the perfect guarantee of health care,” Mr. Lopez Obredor said at a press conference on Thursday. “We already have the budget, with the money to buy all the supplements needed.”
Officials say the country will receive 250,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine this month, along with its introduction in Mexico City and the neighboring state of Mexico, which has also hit the epidemic.
Some 3,000 doses arrived in Mexico City from Belgium on Wednesday, with another 50,000 set the following week, with the government saying there are 1.4 million doses for health workers by January and a total of 34 million Pfizer doses by December 2021.
“We are still facing a tremendous epidemic, the worst we have ever experienced, but today is the beginning of the end,” Marcello Eberard, the country’s foreign secretary, told a news conference for the first time in Mexico on Wednesday. “Today we can clearly see that we are going to defeat it, this virus that has come to change our lives.”
Public health experts cautioned that, despite the pomp, during the first vaccination, there would be little practical effect on rising rates of infection and death until many more doses became widely available.
“It’s very symbolic,” said Dr., a physician and professor of public health at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Carlos Magis Rodriguez said. “There should be an argument in the vaccination campaign”, he said, “but so far we have not seen that plan.”
While waiting in line at a medical supply store to buy oxygen for his father, who was ill with Kovid-19, 40, Louis Olivares, 40, said when he wished the vaccine had come first, It’s been a long time, “I hope for many.”
Others were less optimistic.
Alvaro Garcia, 41, was also waiting for his wife to take an oxygen tank, whose autoimmune disease has worsened his lungs. Given his wife’s fragile condition, Mr. Garcia was very concerned about the spread of the virus. And vaccine? He said it was too little, too late.
“There are already a lot of dead,” Mr. Garcia said. “There is no way that is changing.”