Mexico on Thursday began administering the first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, a day after receiving its first shipment. 

Mari­a Irene Ramirez, a 59-year-old nurse working at the General Hospital of Mexico City; Maria del Rosario Lora Lopez, a nurse at COVID-19 hospital in the city of Queretaro; and Daniel Diaz Dominguez, a surgeon at a military hospital in the city of Toluca, became the first Mexicans to get the Pfizer’s vaccine.

This event marks the beginning of the massive vaccination program in Mexico, which is set to immunize medical staff at COVID-19 hospitals.

“I’m a little nervous but this is the best gift I could receive in 2020, and this just gives me the certainty to continue this war against this invisible enemy,” said Irene.

The initial batch of nearly 3,000 vaccines, which arrived Wednesday morning, was allocated in the General Hospital of Mexico City and two military bases in the cities of Toluca and Queretaro. Each location received around 975 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

According to Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell, by the end of the day, 2,975 medical workers will be vaccinated.

Depending on the level of exposure to COVID-19 the implementation of the vaccine will be decided, with nurses, doctors, laboratories, chemists, and radiologists considered as a priority.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador stressed that the agreement with Pfizer has been respected, stating that the company has fulfilled its obligations to the Mexican government.

“If Pfizer does not comply with the agreement, we will let you know, but I’m sure it won’t be necessary, in here we will announce that they did meet with its obligation and we will thank Pfizer for it,” said the president at the National Palace.

The initial vaccination program will consist of periodic shipping, starting on Dec. 23 and culminating on Jan. 31 when 1.4 million vaccines will have been delivered to Mexico, according to Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard.

The next shipment from Pfizer is set to arrive next Tuesday and will consist of 50,000 doses.

“The vaccination program against Covid in Mexico is universal; every person in Mexico is a candidate to receive the vaccine. It will be free, and no charge will be made in exchange for it,” said Lopez Gatell at a press conference Wednesday.

Mexico has more than 1.5 million confirmed cases and more than 137,000 deaths from the virus, according to data from the National Council of Science and Technology.

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