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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.

Go deeper

18 hours ago - Health

Biden admin to boost COVID vaccine delivery to states for at least 3 weeks

Vice President Harris receives her second COVID-19 vaccine dose in Bethesda, Maryland, on Jan. 26. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration plans to increase its COVID-19 vaccine shipments to states and tribes from 8.6 million doses per week to 10 million for at least the next three weeks, as part of an effort to vaccinate the majority of the U.S. population by the end of this summer.

Why it matters: Hospitals in states across the U.S. say they are running out of vaccines and the country's death toll is sharply rising.

Updated 21 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Scammers have stolen over $130 million in coronavirus-related schemes

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Over 100,000 Americans have collectively reported roughly $132 million in fraud losses from scams related to the coronavirus and government stimulus checks since the March start of the pandemic, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Why it matters: Coronavirus-related fraud complaints peaked in May when the IRS began sending its first round of stimulus checks. Congress recently proposed a second round of stimulus.