Necessary to get U.S. vaccine assist alongside border, Mexican official says By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: First doses of AstraZeneca’s US government-provided coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines arrive in Mexico City

By Adriana Barrera and Cassandra Garrison

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico is ramping up requests for more COVID-19 shots from the U.S. and may seek assistance vaccinating people along the country’s shared border in the coming days, the Mexican government official in charge of vaccine diplomacy said .

Mexico has received 2.7 million doses of the AstraZeneca (NASDAQ 🙂 COVID-19 vaccine from the US but has made no progress in accessing larger US stocks, Assistant Secretary of State for Multilateral Affairs Martha Delgado said late last year in an interview with Reuters Week.

“We are resuming the dialogue to insist on this need,” she said before Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard’s upcoming visit to the United States.

Mexico could also come up with a proposal to prioritize vaccination along the border with the United States, Delgado said, describing the problem as important and worrying in Mexico.

The proximity and human bonds between populous cities along the border make it easy for coronavirus to re-infect both sides.

According to government figures from 2018, at least 14.6 million people live in the border region between the United States and Mexico, which stretches for 3,175 km.

Tens of thousands of Central Americans have migrated to the US border in the past few months in a growing humanitarian challenge for US President Joe Biden. Delgado did not say whether a new proposal for vaccines in the border area would include migrants.

The supply of vaccines has become a global diplomatic dispute.

On Friday, Mexican government officials declared doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine shipped from the US to be safe and approved by two health authorities after the US facility where they were made shut down due to contamination.

After Delgado’s interview with Reuters, a representative declined to comment on whether the issue could affect future US vaccination deals.

Ebrard will also travel to Russia, China and India to ensure delivery agreements are met.

Part of his agenda in the United States will be devoted to vaccines, including “scientific exchanges,” Delgado said.

Mexico has received more than 21 million shots to date, mostly from Pfizer (NYSE :), AstraZeneca, China’s Sinovac and Cansino, and Russia’s Sputnik V.

However, delays and shortages in supplies have hampered the campaign to vaccinate its 126 million residents.

The country has relied on doing business with China and Russia as Western suppliers filled gaps and slowed shipments through the global COVAX mechanism led by the GAVI Alliance for Vaccines and the World Health Organization to promote equitable access.

Mexico is considering Phase III trials for an additional Chinese vaccine, Delgado said. She declined to say which ones.

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