Mexico Seeks 5 Million Vaccines from U.S. After Deal with Russia

Mexico’s president said on Friday that he’s seeking another 5 million Covid-19 vaccine doses from the U.S., his latest appeal to countries including Russia and China to help the nation speed up its vaccination pace.

The U.S. already lent Mexico over 2.7 million vaccines in March and April, and declined to comment about whether it plans to share more shots with its southern neighbor. Earlier this week Mexico was the first country to announce receiving Pfizer doses manufactured in the U.S., after the Trump administration had halted exports of shots made on American shores.

With global supply shortages delaying vaccines from abroad along with production of AstraZeneca in Mexico, the nation dispatched Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard to see which other countries might make up the difference. He hasn’t stopped short of courting nations that are at diplomatic odds with one another.

Read More: Mexico Applauds U.S. Sharing Vaccines, Thanks Cuba for Doctors

On Wednesday, Ebrard announced Mexico would produce Sputnik V locally after a trip to Russia in which he said ties between the two countries were growing “very very close.” He tweeted a warm goodbye to the nation in Cyrillic on his departure.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Friday morning at a press conference that the arrival of AstraZeneca doses from the U.S. was “probable.”

The U.S. said this week that it plans to share 60 million doses of AstraZeneca, starting with 10 million that are near clearance by regulators in the coming weeks. The U.S. hasn’t said which countries will receive the initial shipments, though President Joe Biden said India would be among them.

Mexico’s Deputy Foreign Minister Martha Delgado told Bloomberg that Ebrard is trying to guarantee supply over the next couple of months, when shortages are expected to worsen. Ebrard said he would also go to China, and the country has agreed to take part in Cuba’s vaccine trials.

Mexico has provided about 17 million doses, including to over 10 million older adults. But it has lagged behind other large Latin American economies such as Brazil, which has administered close to 50 million shots, or Chile, which has vaccinated 38% of its population, according to Bloomberg’s Vaccine Tracker.

Mexico had originally planned to have AstraZeneca shots ready in March, but regulatory hiccups and difficulty obtaining supplies delayed it until May, Delgado said.

“There’s already production at the AstraZeneca plant in Mexico, but they’re doing all the testing to be totally sure of the effectiveness of the vaccine,” AMLO, as the president is known, said on Friday. “Once it starts to produce, it’s not going to stop. Then we’ll have sufficient vaccines.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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