Mexico Approaches Herd Immunity
Mexico’s Minister of Health Jorge Alcocer Varela announced that the country is approaching herd immunity due to recent vaccination campaigns, which are providing a third dose to increasingly larger population groups.
During the “Answers and Perspectives of the COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico”, Alcocer explained that it is no longer considered a possibility for SARS-CoV-2 to be eradicated regionally or globally due to its evolution. However, because of the speed with which the fourth wave of COVID-19 hit the country, a massive herd immune period is expected to take place as cases continue decreasing.
“(Omicron’s) very abrupt appearance and different behavior showed that there is still a lot to learn to understand with exactitude the processes that give way to the evolution and gravity of a virus such as SARS-CoV-2,” Alcocer said in reference to the continued uncertainty regarding future strains of the virus and their impact on immunity periods and contagion. However, the approval of 10 different emergency-use vaccines will also play a factor in continuing lowering hospitalizations and casualties in the country.
Alcocer foresees that Mexico, and other countries, will enter a transition period in which the virus has been controlled into an endemic, with known periods of contagion and responses prepared across health facilities. Immunization periods have only strengthened vaccination campaigns, which Deputy Minister of Health Hugo López-Gatell announced have progressed and adapted to the continued realities regarding personal risk and social vulnerability. The government’s efforts include the installation of regulatory committees, social distancing policies, the Epidemiological Stop-Light Monitoring System and the publication of relevant information guides, amongst other efforts.
Meanwhile, Juan Antonio Ferrer Aguilar, General Director, Institute of Health and Wellbeing (INSABI), highlighted the infrastructure enforcements achieved to improve the management of the developing virus. Ferrer highlighted the opening of 153 medical units including 39 hospitals in which strengthening the first and second levels of care was a priority. To support this infrastructure, 980 nurses and 4,869 doctors will be hired for primary health responses.
Currently, 66 percent of the country has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 61 percent has been fully vaccinated. In Mexico City, 100 percent of the population eligible for vaccines has received at least two doses, while booster shots have become available to individuals with health risks and those over the age of 30. Meanwhile, the last two weeks have seen a decrease in daily cases by 50 percent. COVID-19-related deaths during this period increased by 16 percent because of the three-to-four-week delay between contagions and deaths, so the death rate should also decrease in the coming weeks.