Mexico is in talks with Cuba to host part of a trial on a Covid-19 vaccine in an effort to draw more supplies from international laboratories as doses run short in the country and the death tally grows.
So far, just 0.5% of Mexico’s population has received at least one vaccine against the coronavirus, compared with 11.5% in the U.S., according to the Bloomberg vaccine tracker.
The country received 870,000 AstraZeneca vaccines from India on Sunday and is preparing to start inoculations of its elderly, officials said during a press briefing headed by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Of the total, 10% will be channeled to Mexico City.
AMLO, as the president is known, pledged during the briefing from Oaxaca state to vaccinate more than 15 million people above 60 years of age by mid-April with at least a first dose.
Mexico is negotiating with Cuba to host part of a Phase 3 vaccine trial and will announce it once health regulator Cofepris approves it, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said. Cuba has four vaccine candidates in trials, the Wall Street Journal reported in January.
Mexico is racing to reach vaccine deals with several companies and nations, among them China, Russia and now Cuba, as inoculations remain slow. AMLO said Mexico is looking at developing its own vaccines.
So far, Mexico has inked deals with the United Nations’s vaccine system COVAX, Pfizer/BioNTech and China’s CanSino Biologics. The country was first in the region to start a vaccination plan in late December, but the pace has lagged.
Mexico reported 173,771 deaths from the virus as of Saturday night, the third most in the world. Total cases are approaching 2 million.