COVID-19 vaccine arrives / New strain emergesBy Sofía Hanna | Tue, 12/22/2020 - 11:02
Support for health personnel. During the morning conference, Secretary of Health Jorge Alcocer said that the COVID-19 health issue is being solved worldwide, but that does not mean people should let their guard down just yet. He then mentioned how important health workers have been through the whole process and that they will receive all the support possible in the days to come. This support will be provided by the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) in the form of accommodation, per diems and even meals for those who decide to provide support in Valle de Mexico and the other areas that reverted to a red light in the traffic light COVID monitoring system. To date, 70 people from Veracruz, 55 from Chiapas, 38 from Tabasco, 29 from Colima, among other states, have given up their holidays to care for COVID-19 patients in the metropolitan area. Forty-eight percent are doctors and 52 percent are nurses.
COVID-19 vaccine. Minister of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard announced that a shipment of COVID-19 vaccine doses had arrived in Mexico. “Between tomorrow and the last day of January, Mexico will receive 1,417,659 doses. The next shipment will be next Tuesday.” He also mentioned there had been setbacks in getting all the doses needed from Pfizer. However, the remaining doses will get to Mexico one way or another, he said. There was also mention of the work being done with other vaccines. AstraZeneca, in a joint project with the University of Oxford, expects to obtain authorization for its vaccine at the end of January. Mexico has bought 77.4 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador added that it is important for most citizens to get vaccinated. However, it will not be mandatory. “The most important thing is freedom; we are free.” Hugo López-Gatell, the Deputy Minister of Prevention and Health Promotion, added that there should be no fear of getting the vaccine because of all the trials and safety protocols they undergo.
A new strain of COVID-19. López-Gatell addressed concerns around a new COVID-19 strain that the UK first reported on Dec. 14. “It has been identified in preliminary information that it could be 70 percent more transmissible. Propagation is more efficient, but it is still being studied to determine if the inferences are correct or not, since the elements of human behavior determine transmissibility.” He added that the new strain does not make the vaccine less useful. “An essential element is the concern that mutations made the vaccine less effective and there is no evidence of this yet because the vaccine covers the variant, which is not affected by genetic changes.” López-Gatell also said that the World Health Organization (WHO) advises that canceling flights from the UK is unnecessary because there is no proof that this new strain is more harmful.
Mexico City tour canceled. Due to the new red-light situation in Mexico City, President López Obrador announced that his tour through the city will be postponed until the sanitary situation improves. “We are going to suspend that tour of the city to avoid agglomeration or having many people gather, which could cause contagion. We are going to wait and go later.”
Click HERE for full transcript in Spanish