A 12-year-old girl with diabetes has challenged Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell to tell her where and when she can get vaccinated against COVID-19 after being denied that opportunity despite having a federal court injunction ordering that she be given a shot.
Zulma González García of Xalapa, Veracruz, recorded a video message to remind the coronavirus point man of her situation 16 months after she first spoke to him during a press conference.
“Hello Dr. Gatell, do you remember me? I’m Zulma from Xalapa, Veracruz. I’m the girl who lives with Type 1 diabetes. In April last year you told me this,” she said in the video posted to social media.
The video then cuts to footage of the deputy minister saying that everyone with Type 1 diabetes, including children, has a greater risk of COVID-19 complications and must therefore take the same precautions to avoid infection as seniors and other people with underlying health problems.
Holding up a court order, González subsequently tells López-Gatell that the federal judiciary “has confirmed that due to the risk I have I must be vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine” because it is the only shot authorized by health regulator Cofepris for children of her age.
🇲🇽 Zulma González García alumna xalapeña envia video mensaje a López Gatell y lo lee, ” le informó que el poder judicial de la federación a confirmado que por el riesgo que tengo debo ser vacunada con la vacuna (PFIZER).” 🇲🇽 pic.twitter.com/NVzStQ7TAu
— Multigráfica Agencia (@amultigrafica) September 2, 2021
She also notes that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that children aged 12 to 15 with health conditions that significantly increase their risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness should be vaccinated.
“The WHO itself mentions that diabetes is a comorbidity and for that reason one can get seriously sick from COVID,” González said.
“But today, September 1, after waiting for an hour in the parking lot of the Veracruz Health Ministry, next to public bathrooms … where I felt more exposed to the virus [than at any other time] during this whole pandemic, they tell me they can’t vaccinate me, despite the arguments I’ve set out, because I’m not at risk,” she said, adding that state officials cited rules established by the federal government, which hasn’t begun vaccinating children or indicated an intention to do so.
“Consequently, I ask you [López-Gatell] to tell me the city, the day, the time and the place where I can get vaccinated and in that way lead a better life. Thank you and best wishes,” González concluded.
She is among children in several states who have obtained injunctions ordering that they be vaccinated. But it is unclear how many have been successful in getting a shot.
President López Obrador said Friday that his government is complying with injunctions ordering the vaccination of children before suggesting that the pharmaceutical industry was behind the legal action to serve its own interests.
“… We’re complying with the legal resolutions … but our specialists maintain [the vaccination of children] is not necessary,” he told reporters at his regular news conference.
“… There are states where injunctions are being presented, … they’re launching a campaign because [the legal action] is concentrated in four states. Precisely yesterday I asked for an investigation about … these … [injunctions] because it’s also a matter of [special] interests. Imagine the business for the pharmaceutical companies,” López Obrador said.