MEXICO CITY, Dec. 24 (CNA) - Frontline medical workers in Mexico and Chile were among the first to be vaccinated against the coronavirus on Thursday (Dec 24) as several countries in hard-hit Latin America launched mass immunisation programs.

"It's the best gift I could receive in 2020," 59-year-old Mexican nurse Maria Irene Ramirez said as she received the injection at a hospital in the capital on Christmas Eve.

"It makes me safer and gives me more courage to continue in the war against an invisible enemy. We're afraid but we must continue."

Mexico's televised rollout came a day after the first 3,000 doses produced by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech arrived by courier plane from Belgium.

Mexico has registered more than 120,000 COVID-19 deaths - the world's fourth highest toll after the United States, Brazil and India.

Brazil, which has reported nearly 190,000 deaths, is still negotiating the purchase of 350 million doses of coronavirus vaccines for 2021.

Immunisation has been a highly politicised issue and far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly said he will not take a vaccine.