Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced on Wednesday that he would receive the coronavirus vaccine next week, saying it is now his turn given his age.
Mexico rolled out its vaccination campaign late last year, but the programme has been off to a slow start amid delayed shipments and limited supplies.
The nation started inoculating Mexicans aged 60 and older last month in mass vaccination sites set up across the country. Lopez Obrador is 67. The president has set a goal to administer at least one shot to most of the elderly by the end of April.
“I get vaccinated next week,” Lopez Obrador said during his daily news conference on Wednesday. “I’m not going to tell you [where] because I don’t want to make a spectacle,” he said, “I’m just going to go to the location and I’m going to get vaccinated.”
Lopez Obrador, who has downplayed the threats of the disease and is often seen in public without a face mask, tested positive for COVID-19 in January. The leader, who has high blood pressure and a history of heart problems, isolated in his home for about two weeks and said he only suffered from mild symptoms including a low-grade fever and a headache.
In recent weeks he said he would not be taking the vaccine because tests were showing that he still had antibodies for the disease. But on Wednesday he said that his doctors have recommended that he take the vaccine as a precaution.
The Latin American nation has sourced vaccines from multiple nations – Russia, India, and China as well as the United States.
Earlier in March, the US announced that it would loan 2.7 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Mexico. The US has so far shipped 1.5 million doses. Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said that Mexico would receive the remaining doses on Thursday.
According to Our World in Data, less than five percent of the Mexican population have been vaccinated so far, trailing behind Chile, Argentina and Brazil.
The disease has hit the Mexican nation particularly hard. The death toll, according to Johns Hopkins University, is 202,633. But on Saturday, Mexico’s government said the death toll is likely as much as 60 percent higher. More than 2.2 million have been infected in Mexico.