ONEXPO Requests Early Vaccination for Gas Station WorkersBy Peter Appleby | Tue, 12/15/2020 - 18:18
Gas station workers should be among the first groups to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it is rolled out in Mexico, gas station association ONEXPO argued.
ONEXPO President Roberto Díaz de León sent a letter to Health Minister Jorge Alcocer Varela stating his belief that gas station workers were an essential segment of Mexico’s workforce and should therefore be among the first to receive the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, El Heraldo de México reports.
Díaz de León said that there are 220,000 workers spread across Mexico’s 12,700 gas stations who provide essential services to the country’s transportation needs. Due to the nature of their job and constant interaction with people, gas station workers are open to serious risk from infection.
Just over a week ago, the Mexican government released the vaccination strategy it will put into action once vaccines arrive. Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell explained that from December 2020 to February 2021, frontline health workers will be the first ones to get vaccinated. Separate groups of the population would then be vaccinated in turn with the campaign expected to end by March 2022. At present, Mexico is set to receive only 250,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, which at a two-dose per-person rate, will vaccinate 125,000 in the first stage, says AP. Gas station workers were not mentioned explicitly by the deputy health minister.
Mexico’s safety commission granted approval of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine last week. On Friday, Mexico also registered its highest record increase in positive COVID-19 cases, adding 12,253 to the national count which now sits at 1,255,946 cases according to John Hopkins University. 114,298 Mexican deaths have been related to COVID-19 putting Mexico in fourth place in the world for COVID-19 deaths, though official sources accept that the deathtoll is likely closer to 150,000 due to low testing, AP reports.
Díaz de León told MBN in September that ONEXPO had moved quickly to supply PPE equipment to facilities of ONEXPO members by March 30 and implemented health protocols to reduce risk at commercials sites. “We played an important role because we implemented the necessary protocols in a timely manner and contributed to making the industry’s customers feel safe while interacting with us,” he said.
Though the vast majority of Mexico’s 12,700 gas stations are operated under the PEMEX flag, they are owned by individuals or small businesses that needed support throughout the pandemic, ONEXPO president explained. “In Mexico, approximately 70 percent of service stations are owned or managed by SMEs that are going through a complex situation due to COVID-19, so our support as an association is very important to them.”
Read Roberto Díaz de León’s full interview here.