Mexico to get 24 mn Russian Sputnik V virus vaccine doses

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Mexico on Monday agreed to acquire 24 million doses of Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said after talking with President Vladimir Putin.

Lopez Obrador, who himself announced on Sunday that he had COVID-19, said on Twitter that he thanked Putin "for the decision to send us 24 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine."

The shot—named after the Soviet-era satellite—has faced criticism because it was registered before large-scale clinical trials.

It has yet to be approved by Mexico's health regulator.

Its developers have said Sputnik V is more than 90 percent effective, and Russia has already launched a vaccination campaign using the shot.

Mexico's coronavirus czar Hugo Lopez-Gatell travelled to Argentina, one of a number of other countries already using the vaccine, earlier this month to learn about its experience.

Mexico has officially registered more than 1.7 million coronavirus cases and nearly 150,000 deaths—the world's fourth-highest fatality toll after the United States, Brazil and India.

The country began mass immunization on December 24 using the vaccine developed by US drugs giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, but it is constrained by limited supply.

It has also authorized the shot developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, and has struck a deal to produce the vaccine in collaboration with Argentina.

A first shipment of the active ingredient arrived from Argentina last week and the is expected to be available for use in Mexico in March.

© 2021 AFP

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