Mexico is set to receive about 1.5 million Covid-19 vaccines early next week, which will allow the commencement of the second stage of the national vaccination plan – the inoculation of seniors.
President López Obrador said Wednesday that he had received news from Mexico’s ambassador to India that about 1 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine will arrive from that country early Sunday.
“I’m going to give some good news that will hopefully become reality, because it always depends on circumstances and there are unexpected events, but this morning our ambassador in India informed us that a consignment of vaccines to Mexico has been authorized,” he said.
“They could arrive in the early morning of Sunday, about 1 million doses, this is very good news. It’s the AstraZeneca vaccine that’s going to arrive, a first shipment …” López Obrador said, adding that the application of the shots will begin immediately.
The president said that the AstraZeneca vaccines, which Spain and Belgium have chosen not to administer to people aged over 55, will be used to inoculate seniors and teachers.
He first announced in late January that the government intended to import a shipment of the AstraZeneca vaccine from India in addition to the to the 77.4 million doses it has already agreed to buy.
The announcement came after Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard published a letter to López Obrador from Pfizer that confirmed that 491,400 doses of its Covid-19 vaccine would arrive next Monday and that additional shipments would be delivered in subsequent weeks.
Mexico has an agreement to purchase 34.4 million doses of the Pfizer shot but to date has only received 766,350, 95% of which have been administered, mainly to frontline health workers.
Mexico has also struck deals to purchase 24 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine and 35 million doses of China’s CanSino Biologics shot but none has yet arrived.
The health regulator Cofepris granted emergency use authorization to the Sputnik V vaccine last week, while Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Martha Delgado said in an interview Wednesday that the CanSino shot was approved on Tuesday.
Ebrard said last week that the single-shot vaccine had been successfully administered to 14,425 volunteers in Mexico since last October. Mexico’s doses will be packaged at a pharmaceutical plant in Querétaro.
Meanwhile, Mexico’s accumulated case tally rose to almost 1.95 million on Tuesday with 10,738 new cases reported while the official Covid-19 death toll increased by 1,701 to 168,432.
A daily average of 9,165 new cases were reported in the first nine days of February, a 35% reduction compared to January. However, the daily average death toll is up 4% this month to 1,100. The number of fatalities reported Tuesday was the fourth highest daily total of the entire pandemic.
The national hospital occupancy rate for general care beds is 49%, according to Health Ministry data, while the rate is above 70% in three states: Mexico City (79%), Morelos (78%) and México state (74%).