(BBC) – A Mexican nurse has become the first person in Latin America to receive a coronavirus jab when her country began its vaccination programme on Thursday.
Mexico received an initial shipment of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines the previous day.
A short time later, Chile began administering the same vaccine, with Costa Rica to follow later on Thursday.
Mexico has one of the highest pandemic death tolls in the world, exceeded only by the US, Brazil and India.
Meanwhile, Argentina said on Wednesday it had approved the emergency use of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine and a delivery of 300,000 doses arrived in Buenos Aires on Thursday morning.
In Mexico, María Irene Ramirez, 59, the head of the intensive care unit at Ruben Leñero Hospital in Mexico City, was the first to volunteer to be vaccinated.
“We are afraid, but we have to move on and I want to stay in the line of fire,” she said afterwards, according to El Universal newspaper.
The first 3,000 doses – of 34 million purchased – arrived in Mexico on Wednesday from Belgium, where they are being manufactured.
Footage of the launch was broadcast during President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s televised morning news conference.
The Mexican government says it wants to vaccinate all health workers fighting the pandemic by the end of the first quarter of 2021.
The country has recorded more than 120,000 Covid-related deaths so far.