Mexico won’t push India to deliver a second pledged shipment of Covid-19 vaccines due to the dire coronavirus situation in that country, President López Obrador said Monday.
The country, which has recently been recording hundreds of thousands of new cases per day, sent a shipment of 870,000 AstraZeneca doses to Mexico in February. It was to send a second shipment of more than 1 million doses, but López Obrador said that Mexico will get by without them.
“We won’t need them, and we understand their situation, so [not demanding the shipment] is a way of expressing solidarity,” he told reporters at his regular news conference.
The president noted that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs last week expressed “our solidarity” to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
López Obrador said that Modi has acted kindly toward Mexico, adding that the prime minister even wished him well when he was sick with Covid-19 earlier this year.
Mexico has so far received 22.1 million doses of five different vaccines and had administered about 16.5 million by Monday night. Approximately 2.7 million of the doses received are AstraZeneca shots supplied by the United States under a loan scheme. The White House announced Monday that it planned to send 60 million doses of that vaccine to other countries but didn’t specify where they would go.
Meanwhile, federal health official Ruy López said Tuesday that vaccination of people aged 50–59 will commence in the first week of May. The director of the National Center for Disease Prevention and Control Programs told López Obrador’s morning press conference that the goal is to vaccinate just over 9.1 million people in that age bracket.
People aged 50–59 can register their interest in being vaccinated starting Wednesday on the government’s registration website, López said. In order to register, people will be required to enter their CURP identity number, the state and municipality where they live, their postal code, their telephone number and an email address.
López Obrador said the vaccination plan is able to proceed to the next stage — the inoculation of people aged 60 and over began on February 15 and is ongoing — because the government made timely arrangements to secure vaccines.
“We established contact with laboratories that were testing vaccines, we entered into communication with them and we started to establish contracts,” he said. “… The governments of Russia, China, India and the United States have helped us a lot. So we’ve been able to have vaccine supply.”
With only 13 doses given per 100 people in Mexico, it is unlikely that vaccination has had much of an impact in stopping the spread of coronavirus. Nevertheless, new cases, Covid-19 deaths and hospitalizations are all on the wane.
Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell said Tuesday that estimated active case numbers, Covid-19 deaths and hospitalization of coronavirus patients have all declined during 14 consecutive weeks. He said estimated case numbers declined 83% over that period and that weekly Covid-19 deaths fell to 1,621 from 9,549, which is also an 83% reduction. Hospitalizations have declined by 79%, the government’s coronavirus point man said.
Mexico has avoided a spike in infections after the Easter vacation period despite fears that infection rates would rise, as occurred in January following Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.
“… The harmful effects of the pandemic are declining in the entire country,” López Obrador said. “It’s … encouraging; it’s fresh air. … We still have to take care of ourselves … but it’s good news.”