Mexico to launch COVID-19 vaccinations in December

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico plans to begin vaccinating its people against COVID-19 at the end of the third week of December, starting with health workers, the government announced on Tuesday.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the vaccines will be “universal and free” — as well as voluntary — and he hopes the full population will be vaccinated by the end of 2021.

Officials stated that starting in February – those over 60 will receive vaccinations, followed by those over 50 in April and over 40 in May. People with risk factors are urged to get vaccinated first.

The government has already contracted for 34.4 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 250,000 of those are expected to arrive around December 17.

The armed forces will distribute them to vaccination sites, initially in Mexico City and the northern border state of Coahuila.

The government’s point man on the pandemic, Assistant Secretary Hugo López-Gatell, said Mexico’s health regulatory agency is expected to approve the vaccine on December 11, a day after the United States (US) Food and Drug Administration is expected to do so.