Fourteen of the approximately 2,600 municipalities in Mexico have refused to allow the entry of vaccination teams to immunize the population against the coronavirus, health authorities said on Friday. In addition, a convoy transporting the drug suffered an armed attack in another part of the country.
Armed men opened fire on soldiers escorting a shipment of vaccines in the western state of Michoacán, the Army explained. No one was injured and the convoy distributed the doses. But when the soldiers returned to the scene, the gunmen fired again. A man was arrested and five assault rifles were seized.
Also on Friday, the Undersecretary of Health, Hugo López-Gatell, said that the municipalities that rejected the vaccines are mostly concentrated in the southern indigenous states of Chiapas and Oaxaca.
He did not give specific reasons why these communities do not want to be vaccinated and noted that it could be due to “various reasons of cultural and perhaps religious conviction.
According to López-Gatell, the decision to reject the vaccines was adopted by the municipal councils, adding that “we respect that decision.” The authorities are trying to establish a plan so that people who want to get vaccinated do so in a nearby municipality, he said.
Indigenous municipalities in southern Mexico have a certain autonomy and some are governed through so-called “uses and customs”, without the intervention of political parties or formal elections.
Some Chiapas municipalities dominated by Zapatista rebels have rejected other government programs, but it is unknown if they are among those who do not want to use vaccines.
The local press in Chiapas reported that some communities distrust vaccines or consider that they do not have enough cases to justify applying them.
Mexico is vaccinating people over 60 years of age, as well as some of the medical personnel and teachers. The country has administered almost 13.5 million doses to date, a small number for its 126 million inhabitants.
Mexico accumulates 211,693 confirmed deaths from COVID-19, but as it performs few tests, the authorities have recognized that the real figure exceeds 300,000.
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