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Vaccination drive in Yucatán begins with veteran O’Horán nurse

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A nurse at O’Horán Hospital in Mérida was the first in Yucatán to be given an approved vaccine against the coronavirus. Mexico received its first shipments of the Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday. Photo: Courtesy

Yucatán’s coronavirus vaccination drive began Wednesday morning when a nurse at a Mérida public hospital received a shot.

Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal, surrounded by news cameras, supervised the vaccination given to María Ventura Cauich, who works at the Agustín O’Horán General Hospital.

Despite having comorbidities and a 35-year track record, Ventura Cauich decided to continue working in the facility’s COVID-19 area to care for patients, officials said.

She is not technically the first to receive a vaccination. In December, as many as 2,000 volunteers in Yucatán were part of a testing program to study the efficacy of the Chinese CanSino vaccine.

The first approved Pfizer doses arrived in Mérida shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday, about eight hours after Mexico City acquired its first batch of the approved Pfizer vaccine.

By the end of the day, 480 people will have received the vaccine at O’Horán. Nurses and other front-line health-care workers will be the first to be vaccinated, followed by elderly residents living in rural areas.

Minelia Ayil, an intensive care nurse with 26 years of service, and Dr. Eliud Altamirano, who has been in the direct line of care for infected patients since the start of the pandemic, were the first vaccinated at the ISSSTE Regional High Specialty Hospital, which was the first facility to treat COVID patients.

In this first stage, 85 doctors and 200 nurses who directly care for patients with COVID-19 will be the first to receive the vaccine. These are the workers in public-hospital emergency, intensive care and recovery areas.

The federal government’s calendar indicates that Yucatán will receive 10,725 doses from Jan. 12 to 18; 6,825 doses from Jan. 19 to 25; and 9,750 from Jan. 26 to Feb. 1.

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