Mexico Closing in on Dosage Goal / Vaccines for ChildrenBy Paloma Duran | Tue, 08/03/2021 - 11:16
Hospital conversion due to increase in COVID-19 cases. Deputy Minister of Health Hugo López-Gatell announced that the government is working to increase Mexico's hospital capacity, as COVID-19 cases continue to increase during the third wave. “Some states have converted hospitals due to declining COVID-19 cases. They reused COVID-19 beds for other purposes, but now we are in the process of converting them to attend the new cases." In addition, López-Gatell called on Mexicans to get vaccinated since 97 percent of those who are hospitalized are not vaccinated.
The Ministry of Health announced on Monday that there were 6,509 new positive cases of COVID-19 registered, which brings the country’s contagions to 2,861,498. Currently, nationwide hospital bed occupancy is 48 percent, 2 percent more than last week. Meanwhile, the occupancy of beds with ventilators is 39 percent. On Aug. 1, the Ministry of Health announced that it had applied 67,594,385 COVID-19 vaccines since December 2020. Currently, there are 47,609,704 million people vaccinated, of which 25,808,916 million are fully vaccinated while 21,881,288 million have one dose.
Mexico will reach goal of 100 million COVID-19 doses. Minister of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard announced that the government will exceed the goal of obtaining of 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in August. "We estimate that by the end of August, Mexico will exceed 100 million doses. Mexico is doing a great job in acquiring vaccines since few countries have more than 100 million vaccines."
Mexico is administering six vaccines: AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Sinovac, CansinoBio, Sputnik and Johnson & Johnson. Last Wednesday, the country received 2 million Sinovac doses, exceeding its latest figure of 80 million doses.
López-Gatell: Do not combine vaccines or receive additional antigens. López-Gatell asked vaccinated people not to combine vaccines or administer additional antigens as it does not increase or improve immunity. "It is an unfortunate situation when another country does not recognize a vaccine that has been applied in Mexico. There is no medical or public health reason to think that a different or additional vaccine is necessary."
WHO has approved the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Janssen, Moderna, Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines. The CanSino and Sputnik V vaccines used in countries like Mexico have not yet been approved by WHO, US and European Union. However, WHO has stressed that each country decides which vaccine to use.
COVID-19 vaccination for children. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that Mexico could begin to administer COVID-19 vaccines to minors with health problems; however, it must first be approved by international organizations. “If approved, Mexico will begin vaccinating children because they are also exposed to the virus. The vaccines save lives and we are going to continue vaccinating to protect the entire population."
WHO has said that children should not be prioritized in vaccination campaigns as they have better defenses. In addition, the organization has said that more evidence is required on the use of the different COVID-19 vaccines in children to make recommendations. Recently, the WHO Strategic Advisory Expert Group (SAGE) announced that the Pfizer vaccine can be used in high-risk 12-year-olds. On June 24, COFEPRIS approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine in 12-year-old children; however, the government has not announced dates or explained how it will work.
Second phase of the vaccination campaign at the border. Minister of Security and Public Protection Rosa Icela announced that the application of the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine to people between 18 and 39 years old in border states will begin on Aug. 15. The campaign is expected to end in September. "Following instructions from the president, between Aug. 15 and the first days of September, we will begin the second phase of our vaccination campaign on the northern border. We will begin with the municipalities of Sonora and end with Tamaulipas."
The government will allocate 1,262,247 million doses to 32 municipalities in Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas. The objective of the vaccination program in these municipalities is to reopen the border between Mexico and the US to reactivate commercial and economic activities between both nations.