With No Monkeypox Vaccine at Home, Frustrated Mexicans Go Abroad
Brendan O’Boyle - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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October 30, 2022

An activist holds a sign reading "Release the vaccines" during a protest to call for a stronger response by the government to the monkeypox crisis, outside the Health Secretary building, in Mexico City. (Edgard Garrido/Reuters)

As monkeypox continues to impact gay and bisexual men in dozens of countries around the world, at-risk Mexicans are going abroad for vaccines they say their government has not bothered to make available at home.

Mexico ranks ninth globally in total cases, according to the World Health Organization, but officials have not announced plans to acquire vaccines even as other Latin American countries receive shipments.

"It's been a long journey to find a vaccine," said Alberto Herbel, a communications professional and nightlife producer who flew from Mexico City to Los Angeles this month for a two-day stay to get vaccinated after failed attempts in France and Germany.

Herbel, 38, said he wanted the vaccine because half of his friends currently have or have had monkeypox.

The viral disease, which is overwhelmingly but not exclusively spreading among gay and bisexual men, is rarely fatal but can cause painful sores that make basic bodily functions difficult for weeks.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends vaccines for at-risk individuals and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has underscored they are an "important tool" in stemming transmission, though the shots are in short supply globally.

Mexico City resident Juan David Zuluaga, 32, flew to Tijuana last week to get vaccinated across the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego.

"I didn't see a plan from the government," he said. "I had to do something for myself."

Mexico's health ministry did not respond to Reuters' questions about plans to acquire vaccines.

Read the rest at Thomson Reuters Foundation

Related: Mexico City Reports 1600 Confirmed Monkeypox Cases Since May (Outbreak News Today)

Related: Jalisco Reports a 170% Increase in Monkeypox Cases Compared to Last Week (Vallarta Daily News)

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