Vaccines for Mexico? AMLO 'confident' that Biden will send COVID vaccines

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) is feeling confident that Joe Biden will send COVID-19 vaccines south to Mexico. He hasn’t done so yet but AMLO is sure it is just a matter of time. He made that statement as he delivered remarks at the inauguration of National Guard barracks in Tequila, Jalisco, on Sunday.

AMLO thanked India, Russia, and China for sending vaccines to Mexico.

“I hope to be saying soon that I also thank the United States government because I’m sure that they’re going to help – they just haven’t done so yet. … I always say what I think and feel and I’m sure they will help,” he said.

After speaking to United States President Joe Biden earlier this month, López Obrador said his counterpart demonstrated “great understanding” of Mexico’s request for the U.S. to supply vaccines to its southern neighbor.

The Biden administration has said that it is willing to send vaccines abroad but only after it inoculates its own adult population, which is expected to occur in May.

I don’t think we really expect all adults to be vaccinated by May but his point was made. A great many adults will be vaccinated by then and there will be clarity of what the demand for vaccines in this country will be by then. The important part of AMLO’s statement was the acknowledgment that vaccines must be used for all Americans who want them first, then we can help other countries if there is a surplus in our supplies. Frankly, I’m ok with this if it is the agreement Biden and AMLO reached during their last conversation. Mexico is vaccinating all Mexicans free of charge. AMLO estimates that all of Mexico’s 15 million seniors will have received at least one vaccine shot by the middle of April.

The Biden administration should make vaccines available to Mexico when the time comes. It is in the best interests of the United States, and Mexico, too, that as many people are vaccinated as possible. It’s a public health issue and there is a crisis on the southern border. Illegal migrants coming across the U.S.-Mexico border are bringing the coronavirus with them. The border patrol is not testing the migrants at the border before releasing them into border towns. It is up to local governments to test them and pick up the cost of that. Border town governments have limited resources.

Mexico’s vaccination program began on December 24 but almost three months later only 4.34 million doses have been administered, according to Health Ministry data presented Sunday night. In contrast, the United States has administered more than 107 million doses since its vaccination program began on December 14.

Mexico’s vaccination efforts virtually stalled last month due to a lack of supply but the pace has quickened considerably after additional shipments arrived in the country.

As of Sunday night, Mexico had received just under 6.5 million vaccine doses – just over 3.2 million Pfizer/BioNTech shots; 870,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India; 2 million doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine; and 400,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V shot.

During a virtual meeting earlier this month, Biden and AMLO committed to continuing the ‘enduring partnership’ between the U.S. and Mexico. They pledged to work together in combatting COVID-19. The more Mexicans that are vaccinated, the less likely the pandemic will continue to spread from the border. The public health crisis destroyed the U.S. economy and we have to continue to make progress with it before we fully recover.