Mexico launches large-scale, Covid-19 booster shot drive for adults

Mexico City, Apr 18 (EFE).- Mexico on Monday launched a nationwide drive to administer Covid-19 booster shots to the adult population, providing people 18 and older the chance to increase their protection against the coronavirus or even get an initial vaccine dose.

The goal is to inoculate as many people as possible and avoid a new wave of coronavirus infections and deaths.

Although the initial turnout was low at health centers in this capital, people will have until April 30 to bolster their body’s defenses against an illness blamed for more than 320,000 deaths in that country (fifth-most worldwide).

Maria Flor Hernandez, 74, was one of the first to take advantage of the chance to have a second booster shot administered.

“I decided to get (the vaccine) because I said this is the right time. I need to get my fourth (dose) so I have everything,” she told Efe after receiving the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford-AstraZeneca.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced last Wednesday that one final Covid-19 vaccine drive for adults 18 and over would be carried out, saying a nationwide campaign would be conducted over the last two weeks of April.

In keeping with that plan, authorities said vaccines were being made available at 187 health centers in Mexico City.

“We’re planning to administer a half-million AstraZeneca vaccines so as to complete the vaccination series with either a second dose or with the boosters, which is the most important part,” Jorge Alfredo Ochoa Moreno, director-general of public health services in Mexico City, told reporters.

The official said the vaccines are available to anyone who wants protection against Covid-19, including people who have not received any dose thus far and foreigners.

Juan Carlos Espinoza Tapia, 67, also arrived on Monday to get his second Covid-19 booster shot (fourth vaccine dose overall) and said the government had made the right decision.

“I thought it was excellent idea to have a larger number of places where you can get vaccinated,” he said.

Espinoza Tapia recalled that he had received his other three doses at a health center far from his home and place of work and thus was pleased to have access to the vaccine in a more convenient location.

“(Now) it’s closer to our home, to our work. And the crowds aren’t as big, the lines are shorter, so it’s very fast, very efficient,” he said.

The experience of Juan Francisco Lomas Alvarez was similar. A worker at that same health center, he took advantage of the start of the vaccine drive to get his first booster shot.

He had wanted to get that shot earlier, but there was no vaccination center nearby.

“Since it was in my neighborhood and I was working here, it was very difficult. It’s by letter and my turn was a day in the middle of the week and I couldn’t miss work, so I missed out. But doing it here is very practical,” Lomas Alvarez said.

He said he feels more protected now that he has a third dose of Covid-19 vaccine, recalling that he contracted that potentially fatal respiratory illness last year but had no ill-effects because he had already been administered an initial dose of vaccine.

“I feel safer, because when I got it I’d been vaccinated. It didn’t hit me so hard. I believe in the vaccine,” Lomas Alvarez said.

Mexico has registered more than 5.7 million confirmed coronavirus cases and nearly 324,000 deaths attributed to Covid-19, although official figures show that both cases and fatalities are trending downward.

After this drive for people 18 and older, a much-awaited Covid-19 vaccine campaign is expected to be launched in May that for the first time will make those shots available to children under 15 without co-morbidities. EFE

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