Mexico will receive 6 million Covid-19 vaccine doses in February and an additional 12 million in March, President López Obrador said Friday.
“We’re going to have around 6 million vaccine doses in February and without any problem we’re going to have double [that amount] in March, 12 million doses. … I don’t rule out that by the end of March we’ll have vaccinated, even if it’s [just] with one dose, all the senior citizens of our country,” López Obrador said in a video message filmed at the National Palace, where he is currently in isolation as he recovers from Covid-19.
There are about 15 million people over the age of 60 in Mexico, a figure that accounts for about 12% of the population. Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard said last week that the government expects to inoculate almost 14.2 million people by the end of March.
The president said that he had spoken with the CEO of Pfizer and that the pharmaceutical company, which is currently upgrading its plant in Belgium, could resume shipments of its vaccine on February 10, five days earlier than previously announced. Mexico has an agreement to purchase a total of 34.4 million doses of the Pfizer shot, and 1.5 million are expected next month.
López Obrador said the government intends to import 870,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from India in February in addition to the 77.4 million doses it has already agreed to buy.
The president also said that 870,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine will arrive from Russia in February. López Obrador spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday and secured a deal to purchase 24 million doses of the two-shot vaccine. A first shipment is expected to arrive at the end of next week.
López Obrador said that 1.8 million vaccines doses are expected to be delivered in February through the intergovernmental Covax initiative – which aims to ensure rapid and equitable access to vaccines for all countries – adding that doses of China’s CanSino Biologics single-shot vaccine will also arrive.
“I spoke to the Chinese ambassador in Mexico and there is a lot of willingness to help us,” he said.
Immediately after that remark, López Obrador spoke of the 6 million and 12 million doses expected to arrive in Mexico in February and March, respectively.
The president didn’t clearly say whether those figures referred to the total number of vaccines Mexico expects to receive from the different pharmaceutical companies or whether they referred to the number it expects to receive from CanSino, with which the government has an agreement to purchase 35 million doses. Different media outlets have interpreted his remarks in different ways. Mexico News Daily believes the president was referring to the combined total of vaccine doses that is expected to arrive, not the number of Chinese doses.
As for his own health, López Obrador said that he is well and that his doctors have told him that he is passing through the critical stage of his illness. Officials have provided brief updates on the president’s health this week, saying that he is only suffering mild symptoms such as low-grade fever and headache.
“I present myself to you so that there are no rumors or misunderstandings. I’m well although I still have to rest,” said López Obrador, dressed in formal attire, as he walked down a corridor of the National Palace, where he lives.
“… I’ve been working, I’ve been very aware of all the public affairs and paying particular attention to the pandemic,” he said, adding that the government is continuing with the same coronavirus strategy but strengthening it.
“From the beginning it has consisted of [ensuring] that nobody lacks a [hospital] bed and that there is no shortage of doctors.”
The president thanked those who have wished him well since he announced last Sunday that he had tested positive for Covid-19 and expressed confidence that he would fully recover “thanks to you, thanks to the creator and thanks to nature and science.”
“I’m optimistic in all senses, I’m sure that we’re going to overcome this difficult pandemic situation and we’re going to restore our economy and jobs,” López Obrador said.
“It’s a matter of not giving up; as the celebrated baseball player Babe Ruth said: ‘You can’t beat the person who never gives up.’ … We have to have a lot of faith in the future, hope is a very powerful force. Besides we have a mission ahead of us, we have to transform the country, we have to put an end to the plague of corruption. That’s the worst of the pandemics – corruption is worse than malaria, and we’re making progress.”