Mexico aims to begin coronavirus vaccinations next month

Mexico aims to begin coronavirus vaccinations next month

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

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MEXICO CITY,Mexico(AFP) — Mexico said Tuesday that it aims to start coronavirus vaccinations next month in the Latin American country, which has one of the world's highest COVID-19 death tolls.

The government has signed deals with major pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer, which with its German partner BioNTech on Friday sought US regulatory approval for its vaccine.

If everything goes to plan and the vaccine is approved, "Mexico will also start its process (of immunisation) in December," Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard told reporters.

The vaccine is expected to be available in the middle of next month in the United States and arrive in Mexico a few days later, he said.

The government has promised to make vaccination available to the whole country free of charge. Priority will be given to medical personnel and vulnerable groups.

A major challenge for Mexico is that Pfizer's vaccine needs to be stored at -70 degrees Celsius (- 94 degrees Fahrenheit).

Mexico, together with Argentina, also has an agreement with AstraZeneca to produce its vaccine — also currently under development — which can be stored and transported in normal refrigerated conditions.

The country of nearly 129 million people has also signed up to the Covax mechanism, which is backed by the World Health Organization and aims to facilitate poor countries' access to coronavirus vaccines.

Mexico has officially registered nearly 102,000 COVID-19 deaths — the world's fourth-highest toll — and over a million infections.

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