Mexico’s COVID-19 Plan: Logistically Possible?By Jorge Ramos Zwanziger | Thu, 12/10/2020 - 09:47
With COVID-19 vaccines approaching, the logistics challenge regarding their distribution is now more present than ever. Proper distribution and application will be key to economic recovery. “It will all depend on the vaccines becoming available this month, their application and the correct logistics,” said Ramón Lecuona, Head of the Economics School at Universidad Anáhuac, during a webinar at the university, reported El Universal.
Hugo López Gatell, Deputy Minister of Health, announced yesterday Mexico’s vaccination plan, which is ambitious as it estimates that the entire population can be vaccinated by early 2022. It consists of five vaccination stages:
- Phase 1, between December 2020 and February 2021, focuses on healthcare workers due to their high risk of infection.
- Phase 2, between February and April 2021, will focus on people over 60 years old.
- Phase 3, between April and May 2021, will be for adults between 50 and 59 years of age.
- Phase 4, between May and June 21, will be for people between 40-49 years.
- Phase 5, between June 2021 and March 2022, will be for the rest of the population.
“To have a more controlled environment, not only in terms of security but in terms of logistics operations, vaccine application will be overseen by the army,” announced López-Gatell, according to Animal Político. Jorge Alcocer, Minister of Health, explained that there will be vaccination stations because of the low temperatures needed for storage and the risks involved in transportation, reports Animal Político.
However, logistics remains a concern. Lecuona pointed out that Canada aims to immunize its much smaller population by September 2021, El Universal mentions. “If it will take Canada until September to vaccinate 40 million citizens, how long is Mexico going to take with 120 million citizens? The logistics challenge is immense,” he continued. Canada is famous for its universal healthcare system, which Lecuona deems extraordinary, but Mexico’s healthcare system is not as developed.
Canada announced this week that it will receive 249,000 vaccines before the end of 2020. The country is hoping to start vaccinating its citizens by next week, Canadian authorities told CBC. Canada is the third country in the world to authorize Pfizer’s vaccine, after the UK and Bahrain. The shots are primarily prepared for long-term care home residents and staff working in the country. The government of Ontario told CTV News that it is receiving 2.4 million vaccines in 1Q21 to finish Phase I of vaccination, consisting of high-priority citizens and health workers, as soon as possible. Phase II, which focuses on the rest of the population, will begin in April and take approximately six to nine months. Canada remains positive about achieving a high immunization rate by late 2021, which will be the end of Phase III.
MBN reported that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is positive the vaccine will reach the most remote communities in the country, which will represent a large challenge in terms of transportation.