PEMEX’s Fight Against COVID-19
PEMEX still tries to handle COVID-19 contagions by applying a strategy that has brought about mixed results. MBN reported on the NOC being the company with the highest COVID-19 death rate in the world. Now, a Bloomberg report from yesterday indicates that the company is making preparations to invest more in protecting the health of its workers. However, another recent Bloomberg article indicates that contagions in PEMEX have increased at a rate of 17 percent from December 2020 to January 2021, with the NOC being hit hard by the virus’ latest variants and mutations. According to Tribuna Campeche, oil and gas worker unions claim that PEMEX is not being forthcoming when it comes to sharing its own internal COVID-19 bookkeeping.
The NOC is not disclosing its vaccination efforts. Milenio reported this week on the only vaccination campaign that PEMEX is currently sharing, which administers a vaccine for common seasonal influenza. However, PEMEX workers are getting the COVID-19 vaccine, as evidenced when retired PEMEX worker Javier Gómez Pichardo announced on social media that he had gotten the vaccine, which led other users to criticize and shame him publicly under the assumption that he was not currently due to receive the vaccine, since he was retired and not considered part of the NOC’s “first line of defense.” Milenio reported on both Gómez Pichardo’s defense, who said his vaccination happened according to legal PEMEX protocols, as well as PEMEX’s response to the controversy, in which the company claimed it is vaccinating all workers both active and retired.
However, the NOC´s vaccination efforts might be offset by the reactivation of many projects that had remained suspended due to the pandemic. This could expose more workers to contagions if the NOC’s internal vaccination campaign does not keep up with these reactivations. Examples of these reactivations just from this week include the recent approval to drill in the Mulach and Uchukil, CNH’s approval of PEMEX’s development plan for the Tsimin field and the restarting of the Tula refinery’s reconfiguration project, according to BNAmericas, Campeche Hoy and Energía a Debate.