Mexico City – President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Tuesday led the presentation of the National Vaccination Policy against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
“The vaccine will be given universally and free of charge because it is the right of all. In the first stage, from December 2020 to February 2021, it will be administered to health care professionals who care for people who are sick with COVID-19 and to older adults,” he said.
The strategy aims for national coverage of at least 75 percent of Mexicans over 16 years of age to reduce deaths from complications caused by SARS-CoV-2. The vaccine will be given as a priority to people living with chronic diseases and in descending order by age group.
The vaccination strategy consists of five stages:
Stage 1. From December 2020 to February 2021, health personnel from the front line of COVID-19 control will be vaccinated.
Stage 2. From February to April 2021, the remaining health personnel and people 60 years and older will be vaccinated.
Stage 3. From April to May 2021, people from 50 to 59 years of age.
Stage 4. From May to June 2021, people between 40 and 49 years of age.
Stage 5. From June 2021 to March 2022, the rest of the population will be vaccinated.
According to authorities from the Ministry of Health, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will arrive in Mexico in the third week of December. The first shipment will be of 250,000 doses and the first application sites will be Mexico City and Coahuila. Two additional vaccines are already being analyzed to cover other regions of the country and better mobilize the product and the people to be vaccinated.
The Secretary of National Defense and the Secretary of the Navy will participate in the operation to safeguard and distribute the vaccines.
Secretary of Health Jorge Alcocer Varela stated that the Mexican Government guarantees that the vaccine to be distributed and applied complies with all the tests and characteristics necessary to protect the life and safety of all people.
When presenting the daily report on the evolution of COVID-19, the Undersecretary of Prevention and Health Promotion, Hugo López-Gatell Ramírez, remarked that the vaccine is added to the mitigation and prevention strategies already in place, such as Healthy Distancing, frequent hand washing and the correct use of masks, among others.
“The epidemic continues, hope has begun because we will have a vaccine very soon in Mexico. But we should not celebrate and think that the epidemic will end there.”
He explained that at the beginning the production of vaccines may be limited, however, through the different cooperation mechanisms between countries, it will be possible to take advantage of them in a strategic way to reach the control and prevention objectives.
“The vaccine opens a horizon of hope for the management of the epidemic in Mexico, in the American region and throughout the world because the vaccine allows us to have a turn of what are the instruments that can be used in combination for a more effective and faster control of this epidemic,” he said.
The Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon, reminded that Mexico has access to nine international vaccine projects through the COVAX portfolio.
López-Gatell said the pace of vaccination could be accelerated as more approved vaccines arrive from other sources. Mexico this week plans to sign a deal to purchase 35 million doses of the CanSino vaccine from China.
The Chief Executive assured that there are enough resources to buy all the vaccines needed. Initially the investment will be of 20 billion pesos.