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AMLO’s government left 6 million children without vaccines

by Yucatan Times
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In 2019 and 2020, the federal government’s vaccination program left 6 million children without vaccines because it did not purchase them or did so late, and it did not save money, as AMLO promised. He spent more than Peña Nieto and bought less.
An investigation by Animal Político. – Journalists – Nayeli Roldán and Judith Méndez

CDMX- Animal Politico. – In the first two years of the administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, 6 million babies and children up to 6 years of age were not vaccinated. His government did not purchase the required biological products or did so late due to the change it ordered in purchasing procedures to try to comply with its austerity policy and the supposed fight against corruption.

Even though he argued that it would save money, that didn’t happen either. The AMLO government spent 24% more on the purchase of vaccines in 2019 than Enrique Peña Nieto did in 2018. Worse still, it bought fewer doses. Therefore, when families looked for mandatory vaccines for their children, they did not find them, leaving them unprotected against hepatitis B, tetanus, diphtheria, rotavirus, pneumococcus, or measles. Many of these diseases are preventable by vaccination.
Certainly, no government has vaccinated all children with the entire basic schedule, but this government exceeded any number and left more children unprotected. In 2018, 575 thousand children were not vaccinated, but in 2019, there were 2.6 million, an increase of 352% when comparing both years.

The basic vaccination schedule includes more than one vaccine for children of different ages; therefore, for this analysis, Animal Político took only one vaccine per age group. That is, BCG for newborns, first dose of triple viral for one-year-old children, DPT for four years, and second dose of triple viral for six years of age.

Based on the information provided by the Ministry of Health via transparency on vaccination coverage, that is, the number of children in Mexico by age and the number of those who were vaccinated, it was possible to determine the number of children who did not receive vaccines between 2017 and 2021.

Decisions like this explain the decrease: for the first time in three decades, in 2019, the government did not purchase the BCG vaccine for newborns that protects them against tuberculosis, despite being considered the second deadliest infectious disease, only after COVID-19, as proven by the documents obtained through transparency and the review of procurement contracts of health institutions.

Nor did it acquire the vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DPT) in 2019. Result: Mexico was one of the ten countries with the fewest children with this vaccine, a figure that equaled Angola, a country on the African continent, according to the comparison made by UNICEF.
This happened before the pandemic. That is, it cannot be attributed to this that they were not purchased. For this reason, the impact of the health emergency was greater for Mexico, which turned out to be the fifth country with the fewest vaccines applied in that period, only after the Philippines, Indonesia, Pakistan, and India, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). ).

Hence, in AMLO’s six-year term, fewer children with all the vaccines correspond to them according to their age. In 2018, the average complete vaccination schedule in children over one-year-old was 89.8%; the following year, it dropped to 79%. Although it has been recovering to reach 88% in 2022, there are still delays.
The lack of vaccination not only leaves generations of children vulnerable, the effects of which can be seen in the future, but also opens the risk of the appearance of an outbreak or the resurgence of eradicated diseases, which could also increase hospitalizations, consequences such as disabilities, or payment of insurance for work disability.
This could cost the government up to 166 billion pesos – seven times more than what was spent on vaccines in the last five years – which would put pressure on the finances of public institutions, according to a calculation by the Ministry of Health itself. If Mexico had been a pioneer and example in Latin America, why did vaccination coverage among boys and girls drop even before the pandemic?

In this investigation, Animal Político reveals the series of decisions by the Andrés Manuel López Obrador government that affected the vaccination process that had been in place for four decades. Although Animal Político delivered these findings to the Ministry of Health on January 10 to request an interview with the owner, Jorge Alcocer; with the former undersecretary, Hugo López Gatell, and with the former senior Treasury official and current Secretary of Economy, Raquel Buenrostro, none of them agreed to respond and give their version of the events.

Full note in Spanish at: https://animalpolitico.com/salud/gobierno-amlo-vacunas-mexico-gasto-mas-que-pena-nieto

The Yucatan Times

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