• Two city’s in Mexico will begin begin a roll-out of coronavirus vaccinations
• Medical personnel were first in line as vaccinations began in Mexico City
• The first 10,000 doses of a 10-million order of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine reached Chile on Thursday
Chile and Costa Rica will begin a roll-out of coronavirus vaccinations on Thursday, joining Mexico to be among the first Latin American countries to begin mass immunisation campaigns.
Mexico has started its mass vaccination programme, with a nurse the first to be shown receiving the jab in the country with one of the world’s highest COVID-19 death tolls.
The televised launch came a day after the first 3,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine arrived by courier plane from Belgium.
Medical personnel were first in line as vaccinations began in Mexico City, the epicentre of the current wave of infections. The Central American country now has more people hospitalised for COVID-19 than it saw at the peak of the first wave of the pandemic in late July.
The Health Department says 18,301 people are in hospitals across Mexico being treated for the disease that can be caused by the coronavirus. That is 0.4 percent more than in July. In Mexico City, the capital, some 85 percent of hospital beds are in use.
The state of Morelos, just south of the capital, became the fourth of Mexico’s 32 states to declare a “red” alert, which will lead to a partial lockdown and the closure of non-essential businesses starting Thursday.
Meanwhile, the first 10,000 doses of a 10-million order of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine reached Chile on Thursday with inoculations of health workers in the hardest-hit sectors to begin immediately.
Chile is the first South American country to begin vaccinating against COVID. Costa Rica also received its first shipment of the Pfizer doses on Wednesday, while Argentina was expecting the first doses of Russia’s Sputnik COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday.
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said the country has secured 30 million coronavirus vaccines from three suppliers, enough to inoculate 15 million people – more than two-thirds of the population – in the first half of 2021.