An intensive care nurse in Mexico City on Thursday became the first person in Latin America to receive an approved coronavirus vaccine. Mexico began administering the first 3,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in a broadcast ceremony in which Maria Irene Ramirez, 59, got the first shot, under the watchful eyes of military personnel who escorted the vaccine shipment. “This is the best present I could have received in 2020,” said Ramirez. “The truth is we are afraid, but we have to keep going because someone has to be in the front line of this battle.” Assistant Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell waxed poetic, saying, “Today the stage of the epidemic and its treatment changes, to a ray of hope.” Zoé Robledo, director of Mexico´s social security system, called it “an unforgettable Christmas. We are sure this is going to be the beginning of the end of the pandemic.” Other doctors and nurses rolled up their sleeves in the chill morning air at outside vaccination stations in the cities of Toluca and Queretaro. The country’s 1.4 million health workers will be the first to get the shots, followed by the elderly, those with underlying health conditions that make them more vulnerable to the disease, and teachers. Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said Mexico was the first country in Latin America to get the vaccine, though others were close behind.