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By KELIN DILLON

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) addressed concerns surrounding the nationwide distribution of the coronavirus vaccine in a video posted to social media on Sunday, Dec. 27. 

Political opponents of AMLO previously accused the Mexican president and his party, the National Regeneration Movement (Morena), of monopolizing vaccine doses, and demanded that states and private citizens be given the opportunity to obtain the vaccine themselves.

“We ask the Morena government to be transparent about the distribution of vaccines among the most vulnerable populations of the states,” said Marko Cortés, president of the conservative National Action Party (PAN). 

“We still have time to avoid more pain and more deaths. Our governments are prepared and have the financial resources to buy and administer vaccines in their states. The more collaboration there is, the sooner we will get out of the health crisis.”

Héctor Yunes Landa, senator for the centralist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), criticized the government’s alleged monopoly of the vaccine as unfair to private citizens who were willing to pay for vaccination themselves, ahead of the government’s planned age-based schedule.

“In the United States, for example, large commercial chains such as Walmart, CVS and Walgreens are already preparing for the massive distribution of the vaccine,” said Yunes Landa.

López Obrador clarified in his message that private companies in Mexico will be allowed to import the vaccine from abroad for their own distribution. AMLO said the Mexican government would not prevent any private company from commercializing the vaccine on their own accord.

As of now, the Mexican government has not announced a way for private citizens to personally buy the vaccine for themselves, as is planned in the United States, although the potential commercialization of the vaccine could change this.

AMLO reiterated that the vaccination schedule he previously announced on Tuesday, Dec. 8, would still be implemented. The distribution plan started with health care personnel receiving the vaccine this month, and the rest of the population scheduled for vaccination in 2021 on an age-related basis.

As of late Monday, Dec. 28, 9,579 people in Mexico had received the first vaccination against covid-19 (two applications are required, 21 days apart), according to government figures.

“By the second half of January we start with the elderly. We will start with the oldest, from 100 to 90 years old, wherever they are, and if they cannot leave their homes, we are going to vaccinate them at their houses,” said AMLO, “whether they live in Lomas de Chapultepec or San Pedro Garza García.”

López Obrador reaffirmed the Mexican government’s priority in its acquisition of the vaccine is vaccinating the entire population of Mexico, without cost. He refuted claims of the vaccine’s monopolization, stressing that the government is only purchasing enough doses to cover the nation’s inhabitants.

What we are doing is buying all the vaccines that are needed to guarantee that nobody is missing out and the vaccine is free,” AMLO said of the vaccination plan.

He stressed that there would be no preferential treatment during the vaccine’s distribution. 

“(There will be) no ‘because I have money, I’m going to get vaccinated first,’ or ‘I’m a politician or ‘I’m influential and I get vaccinated first’,” said López Obrador. 

AMLO also revealed the government’s purchase of a further 35 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine from Chinese pharmaceutical company CanSino.

As the month of December saw the highest amount of covid-related deaths and hospitalizations yet in Mexico, the distribution of the vaccine, whether private or public, cannot come soon enough for the nation’s struggling population.

…Dec. 29, 2020

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