Top Mexico health official in Argentina to ask about Russia's Sputnik vaccine

by Reuters
Thursday, 7 January 2021 20:43 GMT

MEXICO CITY, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Mexico has sent a top health official to Buenos Aires to discuss COVID-19 vaccines, including Russia's Sputnik V, with Argentine President Alberto Fernandez, which his country has begun administering to hundreds of thousands of healthcare workers.

Citing "reasons of urgency," Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the official would enquire about Argentina's experience with Sputnik V, including any adverse reactions, to see whether Mexico could also acquire it.

"We need to vaccinate and to have sufficient vaccines," he said at a regular news conference.

Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell traveled with foreign ministry official Efrain Guadarrama to exchange information about "distinct vaccine initiatives," Guadarrama said on Twitter.

Lopez-Gatell said they had scheduled meetings with Fernandez and Argentina's deputy health minister Carla Vizzotti.

Mexico has several COVID-19 vaccine agreements, including with Chinese company CanSino Biologics and the World Health Organization-backed COVAX scheme set up to deliver vaccines to developing countries.

To date, Mexico has administered 53,185 doses to healthcare workers using Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, the only one available in the country so far. Authorities hope to ramp up from next week.

Both Argentina and Mexico have also authorized the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The two countries plan to manufacture the AstraZeneca product jointly for distribution in Latin America. Mexico has said shots will be given from March.

Argentina on Christmas Eve began vaccinating healthcare workers using 300,000 doses of Sputnik V, the only vaccine so far being administered in Latin America's southernmost country.

Mexico had one of its biggest daily rises in coronavirus cases and COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday.

While Mexico was the first Latin American nation to start vaccinating its residents against COVID-19, it stands out as the nation in the region that has administered the fewest doses per 100 residents, according to website Our World in Data. (Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Dan Grebler)

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