Health

Mexico distributes first 940K CanSino doses packaged locally

Mexico City, Mar 22 (efe-epa).- The Mexican government on Monday began distributing the first 940,222 doses of vaccine – out of a total of 35 million doses – acquired from China’s CanSino pharmaceutical company that are being packaged in a Drugmex plant in the central city of Queretaro.

“It’s a great honor for us to say that Mexico was the first country in the world to approve the CanSino vaccine and today we’re also the first country outside China to be packaging this vaccine,” said Martha Delgado, the deputy secretary for multilateral affairs with the Foreign Relations Secretariat, in an event at the plant.

With this first lot of CanSino, Mexico will have received more than nine million doses of various vaccines: 3.89 million of the Pfizer drug, 870,000 of Britain’s AstraZeneca, three million of China’s Sinovac and 400,000 of Russia’s Sputnik V.

Mexico was one of the first countries to begin vaccinating certain cohorts of its population against Covid-19 on Dec. 24, but given the delays in the campaign to date, it has only administered 5.6 million doses so far.

At the event at the plant, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard acknowledged the importance of the CanSino vaccine, which was tested in Mexico and shown to be 65 percent effective at protecting people against serious cases of Covid-19, and one of its main advantages is that it requires only one injection, although it does have to be stored at a temperature of between 2-8 degrees C (3-14 degrees F).

“It has been proven to work, it’s effective, it’s safe … I must also say that since it’s one dose we’re going to be able to go rapidly,” he said.

Mexico is the world’s No. 3 country in terms of Covid-19 deaths, with 198,000 so far, and almost 2.2 million confirmed cases, and the government has been pushing for early access to the vaccine to control the pandemic in its territory.

Because of the delays in obtaining Western vaccines, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador expanded Mexico’s negotiations to Russia and China.

Ebrard recalled that Mexico has also contracted to buy 20 million doses of Sinovac and 10 million doses of Sinopharm, for which he thanked Chinese Ambassador Zhu Qingqiao, who was present at the event, for his intervention in the matter.

Although the active ingredient contained in CanSino arrived in Mexico on Feb. 11 and the first two million doses were expected to be produced by the second half of March, the factory had delays in fulfilling federal protocols governing health risks.

The Drugmex plant has the capacity to turn out up to 85 million doses per year and during the emergency “it will be dedicated exclusively” to packaging CanSino for distribution not only in Mexico but in other countries as well.

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