December 23, 2020
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -Mexico’s government said it will begin vaccinations against COVID-19 on Thursday, starting with healthcare workers, following the arrival of a first batch of doses in a country battling an upsurge in infections.
“Tomorrow we’re going to vaccinate,” President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told a regular government news conference.
Vaccinations will begin at hospitals in Mexico City and the northern city of Saltillo, the president said, speaking shortly before the first Pfizer vaccines were flown into the capital from Belgium.
Video footage of the cargo’s arrival showed crews unloading containers from a DHL-branded aircraft, with top Mexican officials posing for photos in front of the shipment.
Lopez Obrador said he would press for the vaccine to be used in additional areas as officials seek to reach workers at nearly 1,000 hospitals treating coronavirus patients nationwide.
Mexico has put the heavily-populated capital and two states into semi-lockdowns to try to prevent the further spread of the virus, while urging residents to avoid holiday gatherings. The country has recorded a total of 1,338,426 cases and 119,495 deaths.
Pfizer’s is the first COVID-19 vaccine to reach Mexico.
The batch will be guarded by the armed forces in a place equipped to store the vaccines, Lopez Obrador said.
Senior citizens and people with chronic illnesses are due to be next in line to receive coronavirus vaccinations.
(Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon and Anthony EspositoEditing by Dave Graham and Barbara Lewis)