MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced on Friday a pair of positive COVID-19 vaccine developments, saying Russia’s Sputnik V shot has shown promising results and shipments of the vaccine developed by the United Kingdom’s AstraZeneca are expected to arrive ahead of schedule.
“Apparently the results of the vaccine being manufactured in laboratories in Russia are good and we’ll also be able to count on that vaccine soon,” Lopez Obrador, popularly known as AMLO, said at his regular morning press conference.
He made that announcement after revealing Thursday that government officials had traveled to Argentina to explore the possibility of bringing Sputnik V to Mexico for use among the population.
Separately, AMLO provided encouraging news about the vaccine that was developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford and is to be produced by Mexico and Argentina for the rest of Latin America.
The president said the first shipment of that vaccine, which is cheaper and does not have the same stringent cold-storage requirements of other shots like the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna jabs, will likely arrive by the last week of February. The original expected arrival date had been March.
While the press conference was taking place, Hugo Lopez-Gatell, Mexico’s deputy health secretary and coronavirus czar, shared an image of his talks with members of the Argentine government and Russian officials.
“We’re continuing our working mission in Argentina. We had a conversation with Russian officials about the Sputnik V vaccine with the support of (Argentine) President Alberto Fernandez’s adviser, Cecilia Nicolini, and Health Access Secretary Carla Vizzotti,” he wrote on Twitter.
Separately, Lopez Obrador said progress also is being made in terms of gaining access to the vaccine developed by Chinese pharmaceutical company CanSino Biologics.
He said his administration has been in regular contact with China’s Foreign Ministry to ensure shipments of that shot, which does not require extremely cold storage and is a key cog in the Mexican government’s plans to immunize the country’s entire elderly population – including those in rural areas – by late March.
“We continue to be the country in Latin America that applies the most vaccines, and on Tuesday more than 400,000 Pfizer doses are going to arrive and then 400,000 (more) every week,” said AMLO, who added that the only question mark is the availability of the vaccines.
Mexico, which has registered nearly 1.5 million COVID-19 cases and more than 131,000 COVID-19-related deaths, has received a total of around 100,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot since initiating its vaccination campaign two weeks ago.
All told, Mexico has contracts for 34.4 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, 77.4 million doses of the AstraZeneca shot and 35 million doses of CanSino’s jab.
It also has entered into agreements with the World Health Organization’s Covax platform for 34.4 million vaccine doses.