Moderna has donated 2.7 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine to Mexico, to help fight the omicron surge.
This week, Mexico passed 300,000 test-confirmed* deaths due to COVID-19, which accounts for over 7 percent of their entire population. (For comparison, the 864,000 deaths in the United States amount to 1.4 percent of the population. Less than 60 percent of the Mexican population is vaccinated, even though they have 10 approved vaccine options. The current rise in cases, with the omicron variant, is the fastest surge Mexico has yet seen.
Last spring, Mexico’s 2.7 million teachers were vaccinated in a priority wave, right after health care workers. But the vast majority of them were given the single-dose Cansino vaccine out of China. Studies since then have indicated that Cansino’s protection wanes over time, declining below useful thresholds at about six months. Due to this and dozens of other factors, in-person learning in Mexican schools has not seen any consistent openings, with many schools experiencing multiple disruptive closures during various waves of the pandemic.
The massive donation of vaccine doses by Moderna is going to be prioritized for educators, according to the Mexican government. It is a national priority to bring back in-person learning, both for the benefit of the students and to help stabilize the economy by helping parents of school-age children get back to work.
“We are grateful to receive this donation, which will undoubtedly help more boys, girls and youths to come to classrooms with greater safety and confidence,” Education Secretary Delfina Gómez said, according to the Associated Press.
Transportation for Moderna’s large donation, which must be maintained at an incredibly cold temperature, was supported by Direct Relief and FedEx. The doses touched down in Toluca, Mexico on Saturday in a dozen massive portable deep-freezes. So far, Direct Relief has aided in importing 13.7 million doses of various COVID-19 vaccines into Mexico.
* Due to being under-testing, a government review of death certificates estimates the actual death toll is over 450,000.
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