By KELIN DILLON
Since Mexico’s elections took place on June 6, the country’s rate of vaccination against covid-19 has continuously declined, while its number of positive cases has shot up dramatically, leading to a microscopic analysis from experts on just why Mexico’s fight against coronavirus has gone sideways, again.
Secretary of the Treasury Arturo Herrera had warned in cabinet meetings that the government no longer has funds to pay for inoculations, leading to a steep 40 percent dip in import of vaccines into Mexico.
According to El Universal columnist Roberto Rock, Herrera recommended a pause in Mexico’s purchase of vaccines thanks to it already having shelled out large quantities of money for doses that never arrived.
Much of the problem can be attributed to the shipping costs for the government’s vaccines of choice, including SinoVac, which must be imported across the world from China, adding a hefty sum to its price tag. So far, only 50 million of the contracted 250 million doses have arrived from the Chinese company.
Meanwhile, the in-power National Regeneration Movement (Morena) refused to put a definitive price tag on the nation’s budget expenditure for vaccines, with publicly stated numbers varying widely from 32 billion pesos to 400 billion pesos, with no official figure ever released.
Further exasperation ensued when the quantity of vaccines that actually did make it to the country was compared to the actual rate of said vaccines being applied to its population, with Mexico having 10 million more vaccines on hand than it had distributed, with the gap only increasing as days go on.
More controversy arose when Undersecretary of Health Hugo López-Gatell refused to disclose the basic terms of Mexico’s contract with Russia for its Sputnik V vaccine, despite a multitude of requests from the Institute for Access to Public Information (INAI), and the public release of terms for every other vaccine contracted. Leaving the price of Sputnik V secretive has caused distrust within the government and an unclear figure of just how much was spent on the venture for public transparency.
Now, the rate of vaccination has dropped 32 percent since the elections, and while President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) claimed the vaccines were not serving an electoral purpose, the steep decline in the inoculation rate has critics saying that proves otherwise.
“The only thing I could say is that this is the data: Before the election, the vaccination process was accelerated and after, encouraged to be lessened,” said former Secretary of Health Salomón Chertorivski.
“That is a shame since active cases have started to increase.”
Indeed, Mexico’s positive case rate has shot up in tandem with the declining vaccination rate, increasing over 25 percent since June 6’s midterms.
Thanks to the large number of new cases, the country’s capital and economic center Mexico City was demoted on Mexico’s traffic-light system, going back to yellow after a brief stint in the green territory, leading to yet another setback in the area’s journey to reopen.
Likewise, the highly contagious delta variant of covid-19 has arrived in the country, with a 60 percent higher transmission rate than the standard strain, leaving Mexico’s battle against coronavirus far from over.