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News Article

Private Sector Health Workers Demand Vaccines

By Miriam Bello | Mon, 04/12/2021 - 16:39

Health workers were first on the list for the COVID-19 vaccination campaign in Mexico. However, this first phase of the campaign mainly considered public workers, leaving out health professionals from the private sector who are now protesting for their vaccines.

The situation got evident in March but it was until last week when these health professionals started protesting. Around 500 workers accused the federal government of discrimination realizing that a large majority of them were left out of the campaign. The workers organized a census to determine if the situation was a fluke or a crisis. The census revealed 28,700 health professionals had been left out of the vaccination lists. David Berrones, the leader of the initiative, told Animal Político that “the registry could fall short from the realty” as it only includes doctors and dentists. However, there are many other professionals that should be considered for the vaccine.

Mexico tops the COVID-19 death toll among health professional with at least 3,679 deaths, according to official data. Despite this scenario, when asked about the issue, President López Obrador asked workers to “wait for their turn.” “It has been complex to have clear, refined, up-to-date list of health professionals in the private sector and of course this is a challenge,” said Deputy Minister of Health Hugo López-Gatell stated that. “Instead of protests, I ask for the collaboration of those who can integrate clear, defined lists that of those exposed to COVID-19 risk in the private sector with the same clarity that we have in the public sector.”

Vaccination campaigns have been organized by different states. In Mexico City, Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum shared that they make no distinction between public and private health workers as there are doctors from public entities that are in charge of COVID-19 clinics, as well as private institutions. She also detailed that because of this, medical professionals from both the public and private sector might be missing the vaccine still.

“Deputy Minister of Health López-Gatell asked us for a doctors’ census at the end of January. This was a voluntary census aiming to support the official census of the government,” Marcos Pascual, Commercial Director of ANAFARMEX, shared with MBN. According to Pascual, to date, ANAFARMEX has registered 2,750 doctors and it is checking the data to avoid registry duplications. This is because around 5 percent of their doctors also work at public hospitals, such as IMSS or ISSSTE, so they are already contemplated on those lists. Also, “the federal government has prioritized some states, communities or municipalities, so we have to make sure our data does not clash with that.” In the case of Mexico City, Pascual shared he was summoned by the Mexico City government to work on integrating PAMO doctors into the state’s medical staff vaccination lists. “To date, these doctors are contemplated but vaccination moves forward depending on the general availability,” he said.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst