Vaccination check-up

An update on Mexico's vaccination process amid a third wave of infections.

Mexico has delivered more than 60 million COVID-19 jabs to 42 million people, reported the Ministry of Health on 25 July 2021. Health authorities emphasised that 47% of the population over 18 have already received the first dose.

Despite the advances in the vaccination rollout, the spread of the Delta variant has accelerated the arrival of a third COVID-19 wave of infections in the country. The variant is overwhelming hospitals in Mexico City, where Delta infections account for 80% of new cases in the city and is mostly affecting the young and unvaccinated. The Ministry of Health advised that the Delta strain will become the prevalent variant until the end of the year.

A senior official at Mexico’s Ministry of Health confirmed, “The third wave is occurring with a strong incidence among the youth. The rate of fatalities is lower than previous waves but hospitals in some regions, such as Sinaloa, are reaching capacity. We are reconverting and reopening temporary hospitals to cope. The medial staff are exhausted but they had some respite between the second and third waves.”

“The rate of fatalities is lower than previous waves but hospitals in some regions, such as Sinaloa, are reaching capacity.”

Senior official, Ministry of Health, Mexico

A senior consultant in Mexico City was more concerned, “More worryingly than a third wave, we are seeing a rise towards the highest peak in terms of infections, reaching levels similar to those of the worst stage so far and with a trend that looks set to reach a higher peak. New variants are leading us to new scenarios with uncertain effects and lethality. The shortage of medicines is also a growing problem and no politician is talking about it. Right now, pharmacies are in short supply of atorvastatin, a useful drug for the treatment of comorbidities.”

“The shortage of medicines is also a growing problem and no politician is talking about it. Right now, pharmacies are in short supply of atorvastatin, a useful drug for the treatment of comorbidities.”

Senior consultant, Mexico City

Both the Federal government and the Mexico City executive remain reluctant to impose new mobility restrictions and insist on the deployment of vaccines and appeals to personal responsibility over government mandates. However, the third wave is expected to peak on 15 August and it remains unclear whether the government will need to take new measures if infections continue to rise.

The official affirmed that the plan remains unchanged, “The health strategy remains the same: cut transmission chains, emphasise social distancing, continue prevention measures through good hygiene and motivate vaccination.”

The consultant remained critical, “Their [the government] primary concern is the economic and social costs of maintaining restrictions. But in an epidemic, the focus should be on containing the disease. We are starting to see a lack of leadership in handling the virus, previous decisions were highly criticised and it seems the response has been to not make any decisions.”

“We are starting to see a lack of leadership in handling the virus, previous decisions were highly criticised and it seems the response has been to not make any decisions.”

Senior consultant, Mexico City

As Mexico City has started vaccinating the age group between 18 and 29, The Ministry of Health remains confident that the vaccine rollout will limit the spread of the Delta variant among the younger population. On the first day of vaccination of this age group, Mexico City inoculated 100% of the expected vaccines, surpassing the expectations of the most optimistic among public officials.

This is not the case in every region though, as the official explained, “One of the reasons for the upturn in infections is that there is resistance in certain regions and age levels, especially in states further from the centre of the country and in the 25 to 45 age group.”

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