MEXICO CITY — Young adults in Mexico are coming out to party again even as the country enters its third wave of coronavirus infections and vaccines have yet to reach those under 30.
The number of seriously ill patients 60 to 69 years old has dropped so far this year as older adults got vaccines, the federal Heath Department says.
But hospitalizations have more than doubled for those 30 to 39, who are only starting to get the shots. Only about 40% of the country’s adults have received at least one dose.
People in their 20s are thronging restaurants and street-side beer stands in Mexico City, especially on weekends. Few wear face masks, and many sing or shout while standing shoulder to shoulder.
But young adults also are lining up at vaccination centers, eager to get their dose.
Often, the motivation for getting vaccinated is to be able to get back to work. While the Mexican government opposes requiring anyone to get shots, it’s clear many feel that vaccinated people will be safer and more accepted in offices and other workplaces.
César Chávez Beltrán, 32, lined up for his first shot of AstraZeneca in Mexico City. A bank teller, he works in contact with other employees and the public. He was given time off work to get the shot.
“Obviously, I told them at work that was I was going to get vaccinated, and, once I get it, I’m going back to work,” Chávez Beltrán said.
The other big motivation is to get back to normal.
Luis David Díaz Sandoval, 30, works as a sound engineer at dance performances. He was among the first of the 30-year-olds getting the first dose.
“The truth is, a lot of people have died, and the hope is that with this we can have a little more control,” Díaz Sandoval said. “We are seeing a lot of parties now, and a lot of people have gotten vaccinated and are going around the streets without masks, as if everything was over. I don’t think so, I think this has just started.”
Unlike other countries where there has been resistance to vaccines among younger adults, in Mexico the resistance often seems to come from older people living in more traditional, rural states, like Chiapas, where vaccination stations often have been deserted.
Mexico’s plan, once it gets enough vaccine, is to vaccinate everyone over 18, though there have been some rare side effects among younger people from the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines, which make up two-thirds of doses in Mexico.
“The goal is to get everyone protected, given that is very rare for the vaccine to have serious undesirable effects,” Health Secretary Jorge Alcocer.
The number of infections recently surged, with Mexico ints its third wave of the coronavirus pandemic. But so far in the latest surge, only about a quarter of the country’s hospital beds are occupied. Hospital beds in many parts of Mexico were filled to capacity during the previous wave.
Mexico City health authorities said they expect the third wave to peak in August in the capital, which has been the worst hit in the previous two waves.
Mexico has reported over 235,000 test-confirmed deaths from COVID-19. Because the country does so little testing, though, the government’s figures on “excess deaths” probably suggest a more accurate figure, that true toll is around 360,000 dead.
Mexico is one of the few countries not to have suspended flights or imposed testing requirements for tourists, and international tourism has helped fuel the coronavirus upsurge in tourism-dependent states like Baja California Sur and Quintana Roo, on Mexico’s Caribbean coast.
International tourists also risk getting infected. Thirteen students from Bolivia remain in isolation at a hotel in Quintana Roo after they caught the virus while vacationing in Mexico, though none is ill. Another 13 were infected but recovered and returned to Bolivia, state officials said.
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