COVID-19 Vaccines/Most Doctor Positions Have Not Been FilledBy Paloma Duran | Tue, 06/21/2022 - 11:48
COVID-19 vaccination for minors. Deputy Minister for Prevention and Health Promotion Hugo López-Gatell announced that this week more than 2 million COVID-19 vaccines for minors will arrive in Mexico. “According to the established schedule, more than 800,000 vaccines will arrive on Thursday. Meanwhile, on Friday, 1,200 million doses will be available. This gives us a total of 2,004,000 million doses for this week. With these we will begin to vaccinate those under 12 years of age.”
Previously, the Ministry of Health announced that it has a stock of approximately 10.5 million COVID-19 vaccines for the Mexican adult population. However, there were not enough vaccines for those under 12 years of age. Consequently, beginning last month, the Ministry of Health initiated negotiations with Pfizer BioNTech for the acquisition of additional vaccines. For the 12+ age bracket, the government has been applying AstraZeneca's vaccines.
Doctor shortage continues. The Director of the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) Zoe Robledo reported that of the 14,000 positions offered for medical specialists, 11,128 did not have candidates or their process were not complete, which demonstrates the lack of medical personnel in the country. “Only 22 percent of openings had at least one doctor that applied. The other 78 percent of vacancies were not filled. This demonstrates there is a lack of doctors in Mexico.”
Last month, President Andres Manuel López Obrador was widely criticized for wanting to hire Cuban doctors to work in Mexico´s marginalized areas. As a result, the government announced that it will open new positions for Mexican doctors. Previously, López Obrador reported that the country has a deficit of 50,000 doctors, a problem that is exacerbated in rural areas because Mexican medical professionals seek to study and work in larger cities. López Obrador said that sometimes Mexican doctors even refuse to move to rural areas. Meanwhile, medical and professional organizations in Mexico have claimed that López Obrador's initiative to hire Cuban doctors discriminates against Mexican doctors because they already compete in an oversaturated job market.
Last week, Minister of Health Jorge Alcocer reported that of the 10,920 doctors who registered for the new medical positions offered by the government, 57 percent did not attend their appointment for the delivery of documents and assignment of positions.
Political asylum for Julian Assange. López Obrador announced that on his next visit to the US, he will ask US President Joe Biden to look after Julian Assange´s case so that he is released, and his rights respected. In addition, he offered him once again political asylum for being persecuted. “He is the best journalist of our time, but he has been treated very unfairly, worse than a criminal. This is a shame to the world. Therefore, I am going to ask President Biden to address this issue. It will be something difficult to achieve because there are powerful people against him. But it does not matter, we will defend him and help in any way we can.”
Since 2020, López Obrador has offered political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Assange, who is accused of disclosing confidential US military and diplomatic reports on Afghanistan and Iraq. The US says that Assange's leakage endangered the nation security and the lives of citizens, for which he has a sentence of up to 175 years. López Obrador said that in addition to offering him political asylum, he wrote a letter to former President Donald Trump asking for Assange's pardon. However, he received no response.
In Mexico, López Obrador has been criticized for having inconsistent journalist policies. Especially now that he wants to protect an international journalist, but does not protect Mexican journalists. Currently, the number of reporters murdered in Mexico has risen to 11, making 2022 the most violent year for journalists. According to the organization Article 19, since the beginning of López Obrador’s government there have been 1,945 attacks against journalists, of which 33 have resulted in murders.