MEXICO CITY (AP) – Mexico will begin a new stage of vaccination against the coronavirus in May by expanding the process to people between the ages of 50 and 59, authorities announced Tuesday.
After more than two months of starting the vaccination of those over 60 years of age, which implied the inoculation of several million people, the Mexican government agreed to undertake the new stage that will begin on Wednesday with a registry of those interested.
The director of the National Center for Preventive Programs and Disease Control, Ruy López Ridaura, announced that in the first week of May the vaccination of the new group will begin, which is estimated at 9.12 million people.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador affirmed that “we have a guaranteed supply” of vaccines and assured that this was achieved “because we acted on time” to acquire the medicines abroad. Some opponents and specialists questioned the policies followed by the Mexican government to buy the vaccines, claiming that the reception and application process began with a delay compared to other countries. The Latin American country received the first batches of vaccines at the end of December.
López Obrador indicated, during his morning program, that Mexico managed to meet vaccine requirements thanks to the support of the governments of Russia, China, India and the United States.
Between the end of March and the beginning of this month, Washington sent 2.7 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines, a shipment that coincided with conversations between the two countries to reinforce controls and care for the thousands of illegal migrants who try to enter through the southern border of the United States.
The Mexican president took the opportunity to congratulate his American counterpart, Joe Biden, for the decision his administration made to send up to 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to other countries.
López Obrador held a telephone conversation with Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel on Tuesday, in which he thanked him for sending 1,000 Cuban doctors to Mexico last year amid the crisis that the country faced in a first wave of infections. “Mexico and Cuba are peoples united by history and solidarity,” the president said on his Twitter account, thanking the Caribbean island for its support.
The Mexican authorities will evaluate between Wednesday and Thursday the cooperation they maintain with Russia in the fight against coronavirus during the visit that the Mexican Foreign Secretary, Marcelo Ebrard, will make to Moscow, the Foreign Ministry reported in a statement.
Mexico has received 16.6 million vaccines to date that have been applied to 12 million people – 9.4% of the population of about 126 million inhabitants – according to official records. Among the vaccines being applied are those from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Sputnik V, Sinovac and CanSino.
The authorities aspired to vaccinate 15 million people over the age of 60, but about 20% did not participate in the process. López Obrador, who was vaccinated last week, said he hopes that people over 60 who did not get vaccinated in the first phase will do so voluntarily in the coming weeks when the application of the second dose of AstraZeneca begins.
Mexican authorities this month began mass vaccination of teachers with the hope of soon reopening schools, closed last year to prevent the spread of the pandemic that has left more than 2.3 million infected to date and 215,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering. Mexico is the third country in the world with the highest record of deaths from COVID-19.
The Mexican president defended the return to the classroom, assuring that “there is nothing to fear” and insisted that “distance education is not the same as face-to-face”.
“We have been reducing cases for 14 consecutive weeks”, said the Undersecretary of Prevention and Health Promotion, Hugo López-Gatell, when reporting that Mexico maintains a decrease in the registry of new infections of 83% in three and a half months.