January Closes with a Decrease in Omicron Cases
New findings by the Ministry of Health led experts to predict that the peak of the fourth COVID-19 wave might have already passed, as numbers are decreasing nationwide. Epidemiologic reports from Jan. 16-22 show a 31 percent decline in confirmed COVID-19 cases, the most pronounced fall since the beginning of the fourth wave at the start of 2022.
Here is the week in health!
Omicron trends in January
Throughout January, IMSS issued over 600,000 sick leave authorizations to employees due to the COVID-19 variant Omicron, representing 9 percent of the Mexican workforce. The permissions doubled those issued for Delta contagions but are expected to drop sharply throughout February.
Possible Vaccination for Minors
COVID-19 vaccination for minors becomes a possibility in Mexico as a Mexico City ruling by the Fourth Collegiate Court on Administrative Matters revoked two negative habeas corpus, creating a possibility for children aged five to 11 to receive Pfizer vaccines. The revocation allowed two children, aged six and 11 years old, to receive their respective vaccines. Through this ruling, an opportunity opens for other children in the country.
Black Market for Vaccines
Residents of Atizapan de Zaragoza, State of Mexico, sold alleged COVID-19 vaccines for minors and teenagers for up to US$250. Sellers claimed the vaccines were endorsed by the Texas health authorities, Milenio documented. COFEPRIS warned that the sale of vaccines is illegal, represents fraud and puts health at risk.
Questionable Medicine Purchases
The government of Mexico City spent over MX$29 million (US$1.5 million) between 2020 and 2021 to buy medicines not approved or recommended by the WHO or the Ministry of Health for the treatment of COVID-19, Animal Politico revealed. These were applied to 200,000 patients.
Alliances for Medical Education
Foundation TecSalud and the Mexican Hospital Consortium (CMH) signed a collaboration to offer quality services and strengthen medical education and health systems in the country. These two institutions aim to enhance the private sector’s efforts by training doctors. The collaboration will lead to the launch of a Health System Management program to train managers in the sector, offered by EGADE Business School.
World Leprosy Day
World leprosy day took place this week. Leprosy is endemic in six Mexican states: Jalisco, Guanajuato, Michoacan, Guerrero, Nuevo Leon and Coahuila. It is an infectious disease caused by the bacillus Mycobacterium leprae, which can be contracted by anyone but is most prevalent in young males, said Claudia Ileana Sáenz Corral, Dermatologist, General Hospital Manuel Gea González. Leprosy can affect the eyes, skin and peripheral nerves.
HIV Vaccine on Its Way
Phase I clinical trials of an HIV vaccine that uses mRNA technology have begun in the US, run by Biotech firm Moderna and the International AIDS Vaccine initiative. A previous trial for an HIV vaccine last year was unsuccessful but that vaccine did not include mRNA technology. Because of the quickness with which mRNA vaccines can be designed and tested, the new trials have moved forward with promising expectations.