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By KELIN DILLON

Mexico’s Secretariat of Health (SSA) announced on Saturday, Feb. 6, that a further 9,837 vaccines against coronavirus had been applied in Mexico, bringing the nation to a total of 710,198 doses of vaccine applied in the country thus far.

Of the doses applied, 71,300 of people have received the full two doses to cement their inoculation, meaning only 567,598 individuals have received a partial or full vaccination up to this point, likely many of those recipients being members of the controversial vaccine brigades, which were created to speed up the efficiency of mass vaccination, something that, according to the numbers, has not been happening.

Mexico also hasn’t received a shipment of vaccines since Jan. 19, contributing to its slow vaccination start, and isn’t expecting to receive another until Feb. 15, when approximately 780,000 more doses from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer are scheduled to arrive.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) announced in a video message on Jan. 29, while recovering from his own battle with covid-19, that 870,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine would arrive from India in February, with arrangements for other vaccines like the Russian Sputnik V scheduled to arrive that same month, though the Russians have since delayed their shipment, adding an extra problem to Mexico’s already-short vaccine supply.

“I do not rule out that by the end of March we will have vaccinated … all the elderly in our country,” AMLO said in the same video message.

But with so few vaccines applied so far, AMLO’s ambitious hope to vaccinate all the nation’s elderly by March’s end may not happen.

Mexico currently has the largest eldest population its ever had on record, with 7.6 percent of the population over the age of 65 as of 2020, or almost 10 million people.

Since Mexico has yet to surpass even 1 million doses administered in total, hoping for the complete vaccination of the 10 million elderly population might not be feasible in the desired timeframe.

Troubles have also arisen with the online portal that was created to help the elderly register for a vaccination appointment, with the website crashing repeatedly due to overload in its first days online.

Controversy has also come up over the decision to prioritize vaccination of the rural population over that of urban areas, like the Mexico City metropolitan area, which is the epicenter of the disease in the country, having registered 23,724 coronavirus-related fatalities in the capital as of Feb. 7.

So far, Mexico has only vaccinated .6 percent of its population, ,compared to the much more effective vaccination programs of the United States and Israel, which have vaccinated 11.7 percent and 62.9 percent of their respective populations already.

With sorely-needed vaccination shipments expected to arrive later this month, an increase in supply could potentially speed up Mexico’s vaccination process, hopefully giving the country a chance to catch up with the rest of the world.

…Feb. 8, 2021

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