Mexico’s vaccination drive for at-risk kids starts in capital

Mexico City, Oct 25 (EFE).- Mexico’s capital on Monday began administering Covid-19 vaccine doses to adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 who are deemed at risk due to pre-existing medical conditions.

But many parents are calling on authorities to immunize all adolescents in that age range, including those who do not have an underlying illness that compromises their immune system.

Luisa Zebadua spoke to Efe on Monday after taking her son, Eduardo, to a vaccination center to receive his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.

Eduardo has suffered multiple strokes and also has an irregular heartbeat and other conditions. Due to his fragile health, Luisa saw access to the vaccine as a matter of life or death.

Mexico City’s authorities expect to vaccinate 2,500 adolescents per day, with a goal of having 40,000 of those youths immunized in the coming days.

Several vaccination centers have been set up in the capital, including one at the Vasconcelos library in downtown Mexico City, with that objective in mind.

Those wanting the vaccine must register on the platform set up for that purpose and show proof that a medical doctor has diagnosed their illness, including providing the physician’s name and professional identification.

“That’s all we’re requesting,” Sandrin Rivera, that center’s medical coordinator, said.

Marcos Carrera arrived at the Vasconcelos library with his 16-year-old son, who has Down syndrome. Although Carrera said he is relieved that his son already has received his initial dose of Covid-19 vaccine, he urged authorities to extend the rollout to all children.

“I think all children, whether or not they have a pre-existing condition, should be vaccinated. In this first stage, how nice that it was for them (minors with an underlying illness), but it should be across-the-board,” he said.

The federal government announced on Sept. 28 that it would make vaccines available to children between 12 and 17 who have a pre-existing condition, but there is still no plan to mass-vaccinate all of the country’s adolescents.

Rivera said that although minors with a range of medical issues have arrived at the vaccination center, the main conditions have been those related to neurological and psychomotor development, Down syndrome, asthma and obesity.

“Not just any obesity (but) grade 3 (morbid) obesity or with major mobility issues,” she said.

She added, however, that people have come to the center wanting to vaccinate children who do not meet the health requirements.

“Obviously, the parents are worried,” she said. “We’ve had several cases, for example, of mild asthma that is not regarded” as a sufficiently serious health condition.

For the Zebadua family, which before the pandemic performed shows in which Eduardo played the role of a clown, getting the boy vaccinated represents an opportunity to resume their normal life.

“This pandemic has left us without (in-person) events, and the hope was that he would get vaccinated because he loves to go,” Luisa said, adding that the family has created a YouTube channel to bring some happiness to children via the Internet. “The superpower of kids is their imagination; imagining a better world, imagining that this is going … to be over. Kids are the future.”

Mexico thus far has registered more than 3.7 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 286,346 Covid-19 deaths (fourth-most worldwide after the United States, Brazil and India).

Since December 2020, more than 115 million vaccine doses have been administered to people 18 and older in Mexico, equivalent to roughly 78 percent of the adult population. EFE


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