Mexico aims to give population at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose by October

FILE PHOTO: Anniversary of the foundation of Mexico-Tenochtitlan
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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico aims to ensure its population has had at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot by October before the onset of colder weather, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Tuesday.

Mexico has so far distributed nearly 24 million vaccine doses to its population of 126 million, and Lopez Obrador said he was sure it would receive more shots from the United States.

By July, health authorities will begin providing vaccinations to people as young as 40, he told a regular news conference.

Over the next month and a half, the pace of vaccinations in the world's largest Spanish-speaking country should accelerate as tens of millions of new doses arrive, the government says.

During the news conference, Lopez Obrador initially suggested Mexico could conclude its vaccination rollout before the winter, but he later clarified that the aim was to ensure everyone had had at least one shot by October.

Last month, the president said Mexico would soon receive at last 5 million additional AstraZeneca Plc vaccination doses, on top of a previous U.S. donation of 2.7 million doses of the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company's COVID-19 vaccine.

On Monday, U.S. President Joe Biden announced a plan to provide 20 million doses from several vaccine developers to countries in need of more supplies.

Speaking alongside Lopez Obrador, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard told reporters that Mexico expects another 38 million vaccine doses to arrive between the end of May and July 4.

Depending on the spread of the virus and how vaccinations proceed, Mexico and the United States would look at easing some restrictions on their shared border beginning June 22, the Mexican foreign ministry said.

(Reporting by Raul Cortes Fernandez and David Alire Garcia; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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