Photo: Hakan German / Pixabay

By KELIN DILLON

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) announced on Sunday, Jan. 18, during a university inauguration in Guerrero, that Mexico would accept a lower number of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccinations so that poor countries could be given better access to the widely-successful coronavirus vaccine, as proposed by the United Nations.

López Obrador had previously said that Mexico had a committed contract for 34.4 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine for the country

“The UN has asked Pfizer to lower its deliveries to the countries with which it has a contract, as is our case,” said AMLO during the inauguration. “So that there is no hoarding and that the UN also puts those vaccines at the disposal of poorer countries.”

López Obrador did not mention which other countries specifically would be receiving Pfizer’s vaccine in Mexico’s stead.

AMLO said that, despite this, there would be plenty of vaccines available from other companies for his plan to inoculate the entirety of Mexico’s population against covid without charge.

“Our plan doesn’t change anyway, because we are already looking for other vaccines, not just Pfizer,” said AMLO. “We are in deals to get the Chinese CanSino vaccine and a vaccine from a Russian laboratory (Sputnik V), plus a vaccine from AstraZeneca with the University of Oxford, so that we will have enough vaccines.”

Mexican businessman and once-wealthiest person in the world Carlos Slim teamed up with AstraZeneca late last year to help fund the vaccine’s manufacture within Mexico and Argentina, and assist with the distribution of 150 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccination across Latin America.

López Obrador’s announcement was followed by the resignation of the head of Mexico’s vaccination program, Miriam Veras Godoy, late Sunday night, Jan. 17, of which AMLO later said he “had no knowledge of” during his daily press conference on the morning of Monday, Jan. 18.

Rumblings within the government say Godoy’s departure was spurred from annoyance of being caught in the middle of a power struggle between Secretary of Foreign Relations (SRE) Marcelo Ebrard and Undersecretary of Health Hugo López-Gatell.

López Obrador also announced during his press conference that Mexico would aim to equally distribute the vaccine throughout its states, without preference, despite Mexico City’s metropolitan area being the country’s disease epicenter, having around 40 percent of the nation’s coronavirus cases

As of Monday, Mexico has distributed almost 440,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine, with aims to vaccinate the country’s entire population of 127 million. So far, .18 percent of the population has been vaccinated, standing in stark contrast to the efforts in the United States, where 3.3 percent of the population has been inoculated thus far. 

Mexico has lost over 140,000 lives to coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, and with a devastating 10 percent death rate for the country, the mass vaccination of the population could not come soon enough.

…Jan. 19, 2021

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