President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Sunday that his government has agreed with a U.N. proposal to delay shipments of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to countries like Mexico that had exiting purchase agreements, in order to get more doses to poorer countries quicker.
López Obrador said the delayed shipments would be made up later.
“Anyway, that won’t change our plan, because we are already seeking out other vaccines,”’ López Obrador said, referring to the AstraZeneca vaccine as well as the Chinese CanSino and Russian Sputnik V vaccines, neither of which has been approved for use yet. “We are going to have enough vaccines.”
Mexico has so far received almost a half million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and used nearly all of them.
López Obrador criticized wealthier countries that have stockpiled large amounts of vaccines but have not used them.
“We are going to have more authority and rights than those who get vaccines and don’t administer them, who keep them frozen, as is happening in some countries in Europe,” López Obrador said.
Teams vaccinating front-line health care workers in Mexico have administered about 463,000 shots so far, far short of the country’s total of 750,000 such workers, each of whom will require two doses.
Mexico posted its second day of more than 20,000 coronavirus infections Saturday, suggesting a surge in a country already struggling in many areas with overflowing hospitals.
There were 20,523 newly confirmed cases Saturday, after 21,366 infections were reported Friday. On Sunday, 11,170 new cases were confirmed. Reporting normally declines on weekends, so the coming week could bring even higher numbers.
Officials reported 1,219 deaths Saturday, which was a near-record for one day, and 463 deaths Sunday.
Mexico has now seen over 1.64 million total infections and registered over 140,000 deaths so far in the pandemic. With the country’s extremely low testing rate, official estimates suggest the real death toll is closer to 195,000.