Vaccination Scenarios in MexicoBy Miriam Bello | Tue, 09/08/2020 - 12:58
One of the many negative impacts that COVID-19 has brought to the healthcare sector is the 25 percent decrease in vaccination coverage around the world, according to the data portraited by the Latin American Society of Pediatric Infectology (SLIPE). There are many factors that contribute to this decrease, from fear of contagion when attending a medical facility to modified public immunization programs.
At the same time, vaccine programs face the ongoing challenge of anti-vaccination groups. According to a report made by Xataka, in Mexico, if ever strengthen, these groups could prevent a high percentage of the recommended vaccines to reach children. This subject recently reached the Chamber of Deputies after one measles case was reported in Mexico City following a long-time battle to combat this disease. This drove deputies to discuss how to make vaccines an obligation, as they are currently treated as a right that sometimes fails to benefit all children.
During an interview with MBN, María Cervantes, Vaccine Medical Director at GSK Mexico, explained how the company perceives anti-vaccination groups. “Luckily, Mexico has a very strong vaccine culture but it is important to keep pushing the benefits of these treatments and the importance of receiving the right dose at the right moment. Education on the subject is very important, especially from doctor to patient.”
According to a study made by Medscape, Mexico is indeed internationally recognized for its universal vaccination program, which is public and free. It is said to be one of the most complete schemes, which has successfully protected people in vulnerable areas of the country. However, in 2019, this scenario was disrupted following shortages of hepatitis B vaccines, the MMR vaccine and the DPT vaccine against tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria. According to Investigación y Desarrollo (Invdes), these shortages were a result of a breaches from international producers and approval delays by COFEPRIS.
Political confrontations have also resulted in delays and disruption in different areas of the public sector. Healthcare one is no exception, especially after a major transformation with the entrance of INSABI. Besides these structural and political changes, Mexico still faces a manufacturing gap, which, if eliminated, could boost the industry greatly.
While Mexico does have companies that manufacture vaccines in the country, there is still great potential regarding good manufacturing practices and competent staff. However, lack of investment in infrastructure and technology prevents Mexico from reaping the economic benefits that this industry might bring. This effort requires public and private collaboration due to technology and economic challenges. If exploited, this sector would be major contributor to the domestic healthcare industry and could lead to significant economic spill for the country.