AMLO: COVID vaccinations will be voluntary and for everyone

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks during an event to sign an update to the North American Free Trade Agreement, at the National Palace in Mexico City, in July 2019. Photo: AP

Clearing the way for foreign residents to get protected, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador declared the coronavirus “universal and free” and that taking the shot will be voluntary.

Mexico plans to begin distributing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the end of the month, starting with health workers.

And anyone who objects to a vaccine is free to refuse it, AMLO said Tuesday in his morning press conference.

“It is important to clarify that the application of the vaccine is voluntary, it is not compulsory. The most important thing is freedom … we are free,” said López Obrador.

The president recognized “the advancement of science” because “in a very short time it was possible to have this vaccine.”

The coronavirus vaccine will be applied “with equality, without preferences for anyone, according to a plan defined by the experts and it will start with the doctors, nurses, who are working in COVID hospitals,” he said.

Older adults, and then people with chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes or obesity are next.

A “fourth priority group” consists of teachers who work in the states where face-to-face classes will be resumed, he said. After they are treated, the rest of the population can pursue vaccinations.

Health Undersecretary Hugo López-Gatell, when questioned about possible adverse effects, said that vaccines are the safest of all pharmaceutical products.

Any vaccine can cause pain, swelling or even fever, but he stressed that the vaccines approved by regulatory authorities guarantee “safety and efficacy.”

Mexico expects an initial delivery of 250,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech formula this week. Officials immediately plan to begin inoculating more than 6,00 medical workers a day.

The military will help carry out the vaccine’s intricate requirements, including two shots per patient three weeks apart, and ultra-cold storage of the vaccine at temperatures of less than minus 76F / 24C.

British drug maker AstraZeneca has cut production deals, including a cooperative project with Carlos Slim, the Mexican billionaire. But the AstraZeneca injection, developed by researchers at Oxford University, remains in the clinical-trial stage.

Sources: Noticieros Televisa, Los Angeles Times

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