The front-line health workers in Mexico and Chile were one of the first to be vaccinated against the coronavirus on Thursday as several affected Latin American countries launched mass vaccination programs.
“It’s the best gift I can receive in 2020,” said 59-year-old Mexican nurse Maria Eileen Ramirez when she received an injection at a hospital in the capital on Christmas Eve.
“It makes me safer and gives me the courage to continue the war against invisible enemies. We are afraid, but we must continue.”
The deployment, which aired in Mexico, took place the day after the first 3,000 doses that US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech arrived from Belgium by courier.
Mexico has recorded more than 120,000 Covid-19 deaths. It is the fourth largest victim in the world after the United States, Brazil and India.
Brazil, which has reported about 190,000 deaths, is in talks to purchase 350 million coronavirus vaccines for 2021.
Vaccination is a very political issue, and far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has stated that he will not be vaccinated repeatedly.
In Chile, 46-year-old nursing assistant Zulema Riquelme was the first person to receive a jab hours after the first 10,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived by plane.
“I’m very excited and nervous. I have a lot of emotions,” she said after being inoculated in front of the capital, President Sebastian Pinella.
“You are everyone’s hope,” Piniella told her.
Mexico was the first country in Latin America to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, followed by Chile and Costa Rica, with plans to launch a vaccination program on Thursday.
“This may be the beginning of the end of this pandemic,” said Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado.
Meanwhile, Argentina received the first 300,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine on a special flight from Moscow on Thursday.
Only Latin American countries have so far approved Russian shots, which are facing criticism because they were enrolled before the start of a large clinical trial.
Argentina and Mexico have also agreed with AstraZeneca in the United Kingdom to manufacture vaccines for Latin American countries.
Mexico City and its surrounding areas announced a new suspension of all non-essential activities last week, warning that hospitals are at risk of being overwhelmed by the surge in cases.
The government has promised to provide the vaccine to about 129 million people free of charge. This is a large logistical support issue involving the military.
The first dose was taken to a military facility in southern Mexico City on Wednesday and protected by security guards to prevent it from falling into the hands of a powerful criminal organization in the country.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that 1.4 million Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines will arrive by January 31 of the 34.4 million that US companies have agreed to offer.
The country also has 35 million pre-purchase agreements with China’s CanSino Biologics and 77.4 million with AstraZeneca.
It is also part of the international COVAX mechanism aimed at ensuring fair access to all countries, with the purchase of 51.6 million additional vaccines.
Chile has booked 30 million doses of three vaccines. This is sufficient to vaccinate 15 million people in 18 million countries by mid-2021.
Mexico, Chile Lead Latin America’s First Vaccine Rollouts Source link Mexico, Chile Lead Latin America’s First Vaccine Rollouts