Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Health Ministry appeals ruling ordering it to vaccinate Mexico’s teens

The federal government has challenged a court order instructing it to offer COVID-19 vaccines to all youths aged 12 to 17.

A México state court official announced Monday that the federal Health Ministry’s in-house lawyer had filed an appeal against the ruling handed down early last month.

The appeal was filed on behalf of Health Minister Jorge Alcocer; Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell, the government’s coronavirus czar; and President López Obrador.

The same México state court official formally notified health authorities on October 27 that if they didn’t modify the national vaccination policy to include all minors between 12 and 17 within five days, they would be reported to the federal Attorney General’s Office for contempt of court.

The government’s appeal will be referred to a collegiate court, which will determine whether it has the right to not offer vaccines to adolescents. The government has offered shots to minors aged 12 to 17 with underlying health conditions that make them susceptible to serious COVID-19 illness, but argued that the universal inoculation of youths is not necessary.

Alcocer claimed last month that that vaccinating children could have a “limiting” effect on the development of their immune systems and asserted he wouldn’t vaccinate his grandchildren.

López Obrador indicated on October 14 that the government would challenge the court order, which was issued in response to an injunction request filed by the family of a girl seeking her vaccination. The judge determined there was no impediment to an order applying to all youths because access to health care is a universal human right. She ruled that the government must offer vaccines to youths during the fifth phase of the national vaccination plan, which concludes next March.

In other COVID-19 news:

• It’s “highly probable” that Mexico will enter a fourth wave of the pandemic in the coming weeks, a Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) official said Monday.

PAHO Mexico representative Cristian Morales said it’s very likely the fourth wave will begin this month and extend into December.

He suggested that the wave could be fueled by large gatherings of people at the Day of the Dead parade and Formula One Grand Prix in Mexico City.

“We’ll see in the next two or three weeks if the public followed the social distancing, face mask use and frequent handwashing instructions,” Morales said.

Deputy Health Minister López-Gatell said last week that Mexico could experience fourth, fifth, sixth and seven waves, even as more than 80% of adults are vaccinated.

• The Health Ministry reported 2,192 new cases and 137 additional COVID-19 deaths on Monday. Mexico’s accumulated tallies are currently just under 3.83 million and 289,811, respectively. Estimated active cases number 19,493.

Mexico’s fatality rate is 7.6 per 100 confirmed cases, while its mortality rate is 227.1 deaths per 100,000 people, the 21st highest in the world, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

With reports from Milenio and Forbes México

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