Mexico, Chile and Costa Rica became the first countries in Latin America to begin administering coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines on Thursday.
Mexico first administered the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to Maria Irene Ramirez, 59, the head of the intensive care unit at Ruben Lenero Hospital in Mexico City.
“This is the best gift that I could have received in 2020,” she said. “We are afraid, but we have to keep going because someone has to face this fight.”
The first doses of the German and US-developed Pfizer-BioNTech also arrived in Costa Rica and Chile with both countries beginning vaccinations shortly after Mexico, while Argentina received 300,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine on Thursday.
Latin America has become a hotspot for the virus with Mexico reporting 1.35 million cases and 120,311 deaths, Chile with 594,152 cases and 16,303 deaths, while Costa Rica has 162,990 and 2,086 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to data gathered by John Hopkins University.
The Mexican government has said it plans to vaccinate all health workers by the end of the first quarter of 2021, and has said it has the funds to purchase the Covid-19 vaccines. SOVEREIGNPH