Experts believe the actual death toll is 100,000 deaths higher, but is unknown due to extremely low rate of testing.
In yet another shift in position, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Tuesday that he will be taking the COVID-19 vaccine in 15-20 days.
During his daily news conference, Lopez Obrador said he will be vaccinated in order “to set an example” in the country.
“I asked the doctors again, and also to dispel doubts, especially so that those who have had COVID like me, that they not wait so long and set an example for people to protect themselves,” Lopez Obrador said.
“That’s why I’m going to get vaccinated,” he added.
The comments were a reversal from those made a day before, on Monday morning, when he said he would not be taking the vaccine because doctors told him it was not necessary as his blood tests showed that he still has antibodies for the disease after a bout with the virus in January.
But those comments were a shift from those made a week prior, when Lopez Obrador said he would be getting the coronavirus shot out of precaution, based on his doctors’ advice. He said he would not let media know the exact time or location of his appointment in order to avoid making “a spectacle”.
Since the pandemic began spreading rapidly in Mexico last year, Lopez Obrador has been criticised for his handling of the virus and for downplaying the threats of the disease. He is often seen in public without wearing a mask.
In January, the 67-year-old president announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19. He isolated at home for about two weeks, and later returned saying he had only suffered from mild symptoms.
Mexico, a nation of 126 million, is currently vaccinating its elderly population. Lopez Obrador has said that his administration has set a goal to administer at least one shot to most seniors by the end of April.
Mexico rolled out its vaccination campaign in December. But the effort was off to a slow start amid delayed shipments and limited supplies. So far, Mexico has sourced vaccines from India, Russia, China and the United States.
So far, 6.2 percent of Mexicans have been vaccinated, according to Our World in Data, trailing regionally behind Brazil and Chile.
The US recently loaned Mexico 2.7 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and local media reported that Lopez Obrador will be administered the AstraZeneca jab.
Mexico is one of the hardest hit countries in the region. According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 2.2 million people have contracted the disease and more than 204,000 have died. Recently, the government acknowledged that the true number of deaths is likely much higher.