MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico received a shipment of 870,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses from a plant in India Sunday and laid out plans to vaccinate elderly people in the country’s poorest, most remote areas first.
Mexico has so far used Pfizer shots to vaccinate frontline health workers, but has nearly run out of those. So the government will start applying its first doses of the AstraZeneca shot, which it purchased at $4 each.
Critics say it would be quicker and more efficient to start vaccination efforts in the worst-hit urban areas, where the elderly live closer together. But the government announced plans to send teams by truck, plane and helicopter to 330 outlying townships.
“The decision has been made to start in the most remote, marginalized towns with the country’s poorest population,” said President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Mexico hopes to get enough vaccines from Pfizer, Russia, China and India to vaccinate all Mexicans over 60 by mid-April.
That would imply the daunting task of giving over 15 million people at least one dose in just two months.