Sputnik Isn’t Making Enough Second Shots, Mexico Covid Czar Says

Mexico’s coronavirus czar said that production delays in Russia are leading to a shortage of the second shots of the Sputnik V vaccine.

The adenovirus used to deliver the second dose of the Sputnik vaccine doesn’t grow as quickly in a lab as the first, the deputy health minister, Hugo Lopez-Gatell, said at a press conference late Monday. That’s led Mexico to consider “Sputnik Light,” a proposal that would use the first dose as the primary vaccine, and the second as a booster as much as six months later, he said.

The delays are a setback for Mexico’s vaccination campaign, which lags regional peers including Chile and Brazil in population-adjusted terms. For Sputnik Light, it will now be up to Mexico’s health authorities to determine whether it gets approved for use in the country, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Tuesday.

“The challenge facing the Sputnik V vaccine production right now is being able to use the vaccine, but there isn’t enough quantity of the second dose,” said Lopez-Gatell.

Sputnik Isn’t Making Enough Second Shots, Mexico Covid Czar Says

He added that the Sputnik Light version of the vaccine could be as much as 80% effective against the virus, versus the 92% for both doses together, but said that it requires further study in Mexico.

Russia, meanwhile, is denying any manufacturing delays.

“The comments made by Mexican authorities regarding the production of the second dose of the Sputnik V vaccine are not true,” said a spokesperson for the Russia Direct Investment Fund. “The manufacturing of both components of Sputnik V is being upscaled in Russia and abroad to fully meet the rising demand for the vaccine internationally.”

Sputnik Isn’t Making Enough Second Shots, Mexico Covid Czar Says

Read More: Mexico to Bottle Sputnik V Locally for Years to Come: Ebrard

Mexico has so far received more than 27 million doses, the majority of those from Pfizer. Between now and May 15, Lopez-Gatell said, Mexico will receive shipments of 2.1 million new doses from both Pfizer and CanSino.

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