Staff In Mexico Begin Receiving COVID-19 Vaccine

First dose given to essential workers at Center for Respiratory Diseases

Posted on Feb 11, 2021

A staff member gets her blood pressure taken before receiving the vaccine for COVID-19.
Nurse Guillermina Guillén getting her blood pressure taken by nurse Brian Pérez before receiving the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Photo by Paola Rodriguez / PIH.

Partners In Health staff have begun to receive COVID-19 vaccines. Starting in late January, staff members in Chiapas, Mexico, began receiving their first dose of the vaccine, the first step of many in the long journey back to a post-COVID world.

Vaccinations of Compañeros En Salud staff began on January 20, with a group of 20 health personnel receiving their first dose. This group included doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers, and janitors at Ángel Albino Corzo Community Hospital in Jaltenango, which Compañeros En Salud has supported for years. These staff members work at the Center for Respiratory Diseases, where the most severe COVID-19 cases are treated.

These vaccinations come as part of Mexico’s national vaccination plan. The country received its first shipment of vaccines—3,000 doses—on December 23, 2020. Mexico City and Saltillo were the first states to receive the vaccines, and Chiapas’s shipment arrived in late January, as the distribution routes expanded.

Compañeros En Salud has been providing quality medical services in Chiapas for 10 years. Its COVID-19 response has focused on training and supplying resources to clinicians in the hospital and clinics where it works, as well as providing education, personal protective equipment, and accompaniment to rural communities in the area.

In July, Compañeros En Salud partnered with Jaltenango’s community hospital to launch the Center of Respiratory Diseases, which has since helped hundreds of people recover from severe COVID-19.

The first group of Compañeros En Salud members to be vaccinated received their shots at 10 p.m.; they waited 30 minutes before returning home to make sure they had no side effects or discomfort. The rest of the health personnel at the center received their first dose in early February and they expect to receive their second dose in early March.

Compañeros En Salud knows first-hand from its work administering influenza vaccines from the Ministry of Health that a safe and effective vaccination campaign is key to ending outbreaks. Also crucial is ensuring fair and timely access to vaccines, as well as listening to communities historically marginalized and creating a vaccine distribution plan grounded in justice and equity.

Despite the global nature of COVID-19, not all countries have equal access to vaccines—while wealthy nations such as the U.S. bought up the bulk of the world’s supply, some low- and middle-income countries may not have access to vaccines until 2022 or later, in part due to patents and intellectual property law preventing more companies worldwide from mass-producing them.

In December, Partners In Health joined the global movement for a People’s Vaccine urging the Biden administration to ensure that vaccines are free and accessible to all people, worldwide, and to promote equitable vaccine distribution, prioritizing those most at-risk in the U.S. and globally.

Related Categories
Dr. Paul Farmer sharing a friendly moment with one of his staff.

Paul's Promise

As we mourn the passing of our beloved Dr. Paul Farmer, we also honor his life and legacy.

PIH Founders - Jim Kim, Ophelia Dahl, Paul Farmer

Bending the Arc

More than 30 years ago, a movement began that would change global health forever. Bending the Arc is the story of Partners In Health's origins.

Please send donations to: Partners In Health, PO Box 996, Frederick, MD 21705-9942