Mexico is widely known as one of the countries that were badly hit by the deadly Covid 19. Over 200,000 people dead, the country has seen the worst of the pandemic. From the collapsing economy to death piling up, they have seen it all.
Overflowing hospital beds, exhausted health workers, and poverty lining up, the situation is as bad as it gets. Mexico witnessed light among the exhaustion and burden of the pandemic when the numbers started decreasing over the past weeks. The worst days of the pandemic seem to be going behind us as vaccines start to roll up and health care workers are experiencing a little bit of normalcy in their daily life.
The aim for normalcy does not begin without the rollout of the vaccine plan. Vaccination plans have been sprouting since 2020. The plans for vaccination production began as early as January, as soon as the virus made its birth and toll on the globe. Several parts of the world from Russia to China, worked tirelessly to bring the world a vaccine as fast as possible. A vaccine is the most cost-effective solution to a global pandemic. It provides the communities herd immunity and puts a collective effort to minimize the effect of the virus altogether. And in parts of the world where people are overwhelmed with death, the vaccine is more than necessary.
The urgency and dependency call for a thorough plan by the authorities. Mexico’s administration has come up with an explicitly detailed plan of vaccination in the country. They have pulled out all stops to start building up immunity. In January 2021, Mexico’s government stated that they aimed to vaccinate 70 percent of the population along with 100 percent of their health workers. They also aim to vaccinate 95% of teenagers aged 16 and above. Later, they also confirmed their plans to vaccinate everyone above 60 years of age by March 2021. However, it is sad to say that many of these aims are yet to be achieved. Priority on health care workers and senior citizens is less than hoped for.
Only a fraction of the 14 million people in the category of 6o years and above have been vaccinated by the end of February 2021. The goal to vaccinate all 14 million by the end of march 2021 seemed laughable at that point. People continue to question the government’s priorities and capability to vaccinate frontliners, teachers, and the elderly at the desired rate. In response to shortages in vaccines and delays in vaccinations, Mexicans voice out their concerns both on the streets and on social media. The country is under great suffering and pain and the pain is amplified for those who are in poorer regions of the country.
Many of the efforts to vaccinate all in Mexico were not affected by one or two factors. Incompetence and the underestimation of the true nature of Covid 19 played a major role in the response. However, it was not all on the administration competencies. The whole world faced a complicated situation with the increased delay and competition for covid 19 vaccinations. The delay in vaccine rolls outs and plans was universal. And ofcourse, Mexico was no exception.
As of May, Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador informs of its plan to administer at least one dose of the vaccine to everyone in Mexico by October of 2021. And by July they will begin the administrations of people aged 40 and above to proceed with their vaccination plans. Currently, 26.1 million doses have been given out and out of that 11.7 million people out of the 126 million population have been fully vaccinated. This is a total of 9.2% fully vaccinated in the country.
Grappling with daily infections and rising, the country has been receiving consistent international aid to combat the pandemic. However, agreements with foreign suppliers were met with more than a few hitches on the way. In the sight of current shortages and delays in vaccine production in Mexico’s plants, they have asked the US for a loan of AstraZeneca. Following this accord with the US president Joe Biden, Mexico received a shipment of 1.2 million doses of AstraZeneca from the US. The doses come from the aid of the US government following their promise to give 60 million AstraZeneca shots to other countries. The aid and shipment also comes after a significant delay in Mexico’s own production of AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca is not the only vaccine that made it to the doors of Mexico. Pfizer became the largest supplier of vaccines to Mexico following its supplement of more than 10 million doses of Pfizer shots to Mexico. Mexico also has authorized the shipment of Sputnik V by the Gamaleya Institute vaccines into the county along with Ad5-nCoV by CanSinoBiologics Inc as well as CoronaVac by Sinovac Research and Development Co. vaccinations being produced by Janssen/Johnson & Johnson, CureVac AG, and Novavax, Inc is still under further evaluation as Mexico works on the rest of their setbacks.
Their vaccination setbacks also involve the shortages of the Sputnik V doses Gamaleya Institute. Mexico was set to receive 24 million of the Russian vaccine doses but they only managed to receive 1.9 million out of the agreed amount. This vaccine is also not an interchangeable vaccine like AstraZeneca and Pfizer, hence the second dose must be the same as the first. 1.9 million is not enough to cover the bases for the majority of the population. The setback has made a heavy reliance on Pfizer and AstraZeneca as well as Chinese vaccines.
Vaccination setbacks also involve vaccine hesitancy among citizens of Mexico. Mexico is fairly successful at immunization of children but this is a rare call for immunization of adults. This involves many senior citizens and people from various educational backgrounds. Opinions are hard to change and it is harder to overcome hesitancy.
The vaccine is the only cost-effective way of slowly breaking down the ongoing slop of death and infection rates in Mexico. The country is set to receive more and more vaccination to alleviate the situation of its 126 million population.