The president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has settled this Friday the open conflict with a group of opposition governors over his criticism of the national vaccination plan. López Obrador has announced that from now on the States, if they wish, will be able to purchase vaccines endorsed by the Government – such as those from Pfizer and AstraZeneca – on their own, as well as companies. The measure contradicts the recommendations of the Undersecretary of Health and person in charge of managing the health crisis, Hugo López-Gatell, who pointed out amid the controversy that decentralizing the immunization campaign could have adverse effects on the results of the national plan. With this initiative, more political than scientific to fight the pandemic, the president tries to stop the electoral use of his health strategy in the face of the June elections.
The vaccination campaign comes in a delicate political context for the country, since on June 6 of this year legislative elections are expected – for the federal Chamber of Deputies – and the election of local offices in 32 states of the country, including governors of 15 States. The governors of 10 states, representatives of parties in opposition to the Government, such as the PAN, PRI, PRD and Movimiento Ciudadano, joined forces since March 2020 to design strategies to combat the pandemic at a time when the measures that proposed by the president, they were lukewarm and skeptical: as was the case of the religious stamps that López Obrador showed to stop the virus, the refusal to wear a mask, to continue with his massive tours of the country or to refuse to close shops and impose stricter quarantines . The political war between these leaders and the federal government has gained new momentum with the federal immunization strategy.
Governors such as Jaime Rodríguez Calderón, from Nuevo León, The BroncoThese weeks, Jaime Rodríguez Peralta, from Colima, pressured the Government to buy their own vaccines and design their own strategy, claiming that the federal one was not effective. “They want to buy vaccines, they are free to do so, I do not want them to indulge in politicking, this is a very serious matter and the rules must be defined, there will be no delays in authorizations, also so that they do not deceive about ‘I’m going to buy and they won’t let me ‘and then there’s nothing in fact. It is pure demagoguery, “said the president in his press conference this Friday.
The president’s statements on the purchase of vaccines, during the morning conference.
López-Gatell had indicated a day before his concern on this point: “From a technical point of view, the guideline is to recommend that this not be done, because everyone is going for their own way and we are not talking about a State strategy, such as if we were not a country and we were simply a disorderly, anarchic community ”. And he added that the national plan is not a political occurrence, but is endorsed by the Strategic Advisory Committee on vaccination of the WHO.
The undersecretary also reported that the vaccines applied until the last cut yesterday totaled 567,379 and that the Government of Mexico is ready to receive and apply more doses. Although the Government faces a shortage and delay in the application since Pfizer announced earlier this week a cut of half the batches planned for this month for expansion works at its plant in Belgium, where they will try to quadruple production to cope with the huge demand for vaccines in the world. The undersecretary has insisted, however, that the number of vaccines will be the same, but they will arrive late, since the shipments scheduled for January 25, February 2 and 9, will be delayed and will be delivered on the 15th of that month. .
Faced with this new challenge that slows down immunization in one of the worst moments of the pandemic for the country, and especially the capital, with a hospital saturation of more than 60%, the Government plans to cover the delay of the US pharmaceutical company with the purchase of vaccines from CanSino, from China, and the Russian Sputnik V. The material that will arrive in the country is the active principle and it will still take a few weeks to prepare the doses and transport them to all territories. The goal is to immunize more than 14 million inhabitants by March with four different prototypes. Two-thirds will come from Russia and China, while the rest will be completed when Pfizer production is regularized and distribution of the Oxford and AstraZeneca vaccine begins.
In the midst of the difficulties of the federal government to obtain the sufficient quantity of doses comes the measure that grants more autonomy to the States. The president has challenged the leaders to face an unprecedented health crisis on their own. For his part, Jaime Rodríguez, The Bronco, has celebrated this friday the measure: “We hope that the process will be agile, as there is no time to lose. We are going to save lives! “