Mexico has allocated $ 340 million to multilateral and bilateral efforts to have coronavirus vaccines when they are available, negotiations that have been “extremely complicated,” Martha Delgado, undersecretary of Foreign Relations for Multilateral Affairs, told The Associated Press on Wednesday. and Human Rights.
“We are talking that we are buying something that does not exist (…), that a good that everyone wants in the world, highly desired (and) a product on which life or death depends, is being set aside,” added the official. “All those niceties put a lot of pressure on a negotiation.”
Faced with initiatives such as Donald Trump’s to remove the United States from the World Health Organization, a measure that could be reversed if he loses the elections, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been a staunch defender of multilateralism and with the arrival The pandemic supported all kinds of strategies under the coordination of the UN so that countries can have equitable access to both medicines and possible vaccines against COVID-19.
Delgado explained that Mexico has three lines of action with regard to vaccines: participate in multinational forums in which efforts are coordinated to stop the pandemic, establish agreements with pharmaceutical companies through the governments of their respective countries and develop their own research projects.
In the first field, one of the most important bets is Mexico’s participation in COVAX, the only global initiative that works with governments and manufacturers to ensure that vaccines are available worldwide for both the highest income countries. as for those with lower income. To do this, the government agreed to the advance purchase of vaccines for 20% of the population, an investment of 160 million dollars, said Delgado.
On the other hand, Mexico signed three agreements with private companies. One with AstraZeneca, the pharmacist that works with the University of Oxford, according to which the country will package and distribute the vaccine for all of Latin America and will keep 77.4 million doses when it is available. Another of the agreements is with the multinational Pfizer and the third with the Chinese company CanSino Biologics, with which Mexico will participate in phase III trials and which, according to the undersecretary, will provide the country with the advantage that it will be proven “in our genetics” .
Likewise, Delgado announced that another agreement is about to be announced to participate in other phase III trials of another company’s vaccine, although he did not want to provide further details. He added that national research projects are being supported, with international funds, which will give more long-term results, with four groups of companies and institutions.
Delgado said they were complicated agreements because the pharmaceutical companies have standard agreements that had to be adapted to Mexican law.
Mexico has almost a million confirmed infected with COVID-19 and close to 100,000 official deaths, although the government itself acknowledged this month that deaths may be around 140,000.
Although work is being done quickly to obtain a vaccine, the Pan American Health Organization has made it clear that it will only support its distribution when it has been proven to be safe and effective and after being reviewed by regulatory authorities.
Until then, countries must guarantee a sustained response to prevent contagion, PAHO stressed.
“Testing, treatment, and isolation of cases, as well as locating contacts are part of a good surveillance strategy, and few countries are doing this well in our region,” the PAHO Director emphasized this month. , Carissa F. Etienne.
In the Mexican case, the main criticisms of the experts have been due to the lack of evidence and the contradictory indications of the authorities on the use of face masks.