Mexico City, Mexico — The president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has announced the temporary reduction of Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine shipments into the country.
The announcement came after the World Health Organization (WHO) said the world was on the brink of “catastrophic moral failure” due to the “me first” approach resulting in the unequal distribution of Covid vaccines.
WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was not fair that richer nations are vaccinated before poorer ones and that rich healthy people are vaccinated before the vulnerable in poorer states.
“I need to be blunt. The world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure and the price of this failure will be paid with lives and livelihoods in the world’s poorest countries,” he said.
From that, Mexico’s president AMLO agreed to temporarily cut its vaccine quantities in half. Initially, the next shipment set to arrive January 19 was to bring 400,000 doses, but now, it will arrive with around 200,000 to comply with the UN request to avoid hoarding and allow access for poor countries.
AMLO revealed that the UN has asked the pharmaceutical company Pfizer to lower its delivery counts to countries with which it has a contract, such as the case with Mexico, so that vaccines are more readily available “and to avoid hoarding.”
He said the reduction in the vaccines does not change the inoculation plan in Mexico “because we are looking for other vaccines anyway,” adding “we are in negotiations for the Chinese CanSino vaccine and a vaccine from a Russian laboratory (Sputnik V), plus a vaccine from AstraZeneca with the University of Oxford, so we are going to have enough vaccines,” he explained.
Dr. Tedros said more than 39 million vaccine doses had been distributed in 49 richer states compared with just 25 doses in one low-income country. To date, China, India, Russia, the UK and the US have developed Covid vaccines. Nearly all of these nations have prioritize distribution to their own populations.
So far, Mexico has agreements for 34.4 million doses from Pfizer, 77.4 million from the British AstraZeneca, 35 million from CanSino and 34.4 million from the Covax platform of the World Health Organization (WHO). Mexico is also analyzing the purchase of 24 million by the Russian Sputnik V.