Dec 24, 2020 - Health

Mexico becomes first Latin American country to vaccinate against COVID

Photo of a masked nurse getting the vaccine
A nurse was the first person in Mexico to receive the vcaccine. Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP via Getty

Mexico became the first Latin American country to begin coronavirus vaccinations, amid a surge in cases, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The serum arrives as Mexico's hospitals reach a breaking point. The country tallies over 1.3 million COVID-19 cases and 120,000 deaths, per John Hopkins University data, though actual numbers are believed to be much higher.

The big picture: Authorities are prioritizing health care workers in December and January before moving to vaccinate older Mexicans most at risk.

  • The first 3,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine were delivered in Mexico on Wednesday, and vaccinations began the next day; another 50,000 doses are set to arrive this month.
  • Hospitals have buckled under the recent spike in cases. 85% of beds are filled according to official figures per NYT.
  • Mexico City, a COVID hotspot, banned nonessential activities last week in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

Context: Latin American countries have suffered high death counts as the pandemic ravages health care systems and ruptures economies.

  • Costa Rica, Chile and Argentina are expected to begin their own vaccination campaigns this month.

What to watch: Brazil has an even higher case count than Mexico, with 7.3 million and more than 189,000 deaths. Brazil’s health regulatory agency has not yet approved any vaccine, per NYT.

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