Aug 10, 2021 - Politics & Policy

U.S. to ship 8.5 million vaccine doses to Mexico as COVID cases surge

A health worker administers a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine during a vaccination day on August 4, 2021 in Mexico City, Mexico.

A health worker administers a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Aug. 4, in Mexico City, Mexico. Photo: Leonardo Montecillo/Agencia Press South/Getty Images

The United States will send 8.5 million more doses of the coronavirus vaccine to Mexico as the country experiences a third wave of infections, AP reports.

Why it matters: The announcement by Mexican Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard comes as the Delta variant drives up the number of infections in the country.

  • Mexico has seen more than 244,000 test-confirmed deaths, per AP. However, low testing rates and poor record-keeping likely indicate a higher death toll.

The big picture: Mexico has received 91.2 million doses of five different COVID vaccines, per AP.

  • About 51 million people in Mexico have received at least one dose of a vaccine, and 27 million have been fully vaccinated, according to AP.
  • The U.S. sent the country roughly 1.3 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine following Vice President Kamala Harris' visit in June.

What they're saying: “The appearance of new cases is much greater than what we saw in the first and second waves,” Miguel Betancourt, a public health specialist, said per AP.

  • “With this velocity that we are seeing, the risk of saturation of the hospitals is very high," he added.
  • “I hope I’m wrong, but I believe now that we’re seeing in some places where the hospital saturation is around 70%, we could start to see an increase in deaths because they won’t have the capacity to quickly attend to the people who become serious and require attention."
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