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Devastated by Covid, Latin America Is Now Unprepared for Vaccine

Concern over graft, distribution and storage of vaccines is looming large and it will probably take longer than the coming year for immunity.

Doctors and nurses work to resuscitate a patient in the Covid-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at the Emilio Ribas Institute of Infectious Disease hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. Sao Paulo will have 46 million doses of Coronavac available for vaccination by the first half of January, Governor Joao Doria said.
Doctors and nurses work to resuscitate a patient in the Covid-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at the Emilio Ribas Institute of Infectious Disease hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. Sao Paulo will have 46 million doses of Coronavac available for vaccination by the first half of January, Governor Joao Doria said.Photographer: Jonne Roriz/Bloomberg
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One afternoon a couple months ago, hijackers commandeered a truck just east of Mexico City and hauled off its cargo. It wasn’t cash or jewelry but doses of ordinary flu vaccine so scarce in Mexico this year that there’s a black market for it in what many worry is an omen for Covid-19 vaccination.

In Brazil, Latin America’s other behemoth, President Jair Bolsonaro, who belittles masks, is vowing not to get a Covid vaccine, causing health officials to worry that his loyal supporters might follow suit. In Bolivia, the government has approved ingesting chlorine dioxide -- bleach -- against the virus, widely considered useless and dangerous.