Mexico City, Jan 5 (efe-epa).- The year’s first shipment of the Pfizer/BioNTech anti-Covid vaccine arrived in Mexico on Tuesday, 53,605 doses earmarked to immunize healthcare personnel in Mexico City and the northern state of Coahuila.
“This brief ceremony, the first of the year, keeps us united with everyone, and I remind you: everyone will get their turn,” said Jorge Alcocer, the head of the Health Secretariat, upon receiving the shipment at the Mexico City International Airport.
The secretary said that, of the doses that arrived on Tuesday, Mexico City will receive 44,850 of them and Coahuila will receive 8,755, and Tuesday morning the latter allotment arrived at the Monterrey International Airport in the neighboring state of Nuevo Leon.
Mexico, which began vaccinating its healthcare personnel on Dec.24, has now used 82 percent of the 53,625 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that it had received before this latest shipment.
The government is scheduled to receive a total of 1.4 million doses in January to immunize all healthcare personnel who are on the front lines treating Covid-19 patients.
“In this first vaccination phase, we will continue protecting medical personnal, and to do that we’ve already performed a census of all state activities,” Alcocer said.
The Covid-19 pandemic has infected more than 1.45 million Mexicans, according to the confirmed case count, and killed about 128,000 people in Mexico, which is in 13th place worldwide in the number of cases and but in fourth place in terms of fatalities, according to the independent tally being kept by The Johns Hopkins University in the United States.
The Mexican government lobbied for early access to the vaccine with the goal of immunizing in March 2021 the country’s 15 million people over age 60.
Although opposition politicians have criticized the slowness of carrying out the vaccination campaign, Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrara said that Mexico’s immunization campaign is “among the first in the world.”
“The next shipment will be a considerable number, we’re going to receive more than 436,000 (doses) next week and the health sector is ready to handle that volume of vaccines that is coming to Mexico, which is among the first in the world in terms of its vaccination plan,” the foreign secretary said.
In all, Mexico has contracts for 34.4 million doses of the Pfizer drug, 77.4 million doses of Britain’s AstraZeneca vaccine, 35 million doses of China’s CanSino and 34.4 million doses of the World Health Organization’s Covax.
Ebrard hailed the fact that on Monday Mexico’s Federal Commission on Protection Against Health Risks (Cofepris) authorized the emergency use of the AstraZeneca drug, which Mexico and Argentina will produce for the rest of Latin America.
On the other hand, the Mexican armed forces on Tuesday defended its control of the country’s vaccination plan.
“We’re joining the federal government’s effort for distributing, providing security for and, of course, administering the vaccine against Covid-19. Mexicans can rest assured that together we will win this battle,” said Jose Rafael Ojeda, the head of the Navy Secretariat.