Argentinian President Alberto Fernández confirms Argentina and Mexico will co-produce millions of doses of a coronavirus vaccine developed by scientists at the University of Oxford and Swedish-British pharma firm AstraZeneca.
Speaking at a press conference at the Olivos presidential residence on Wednesday (August 12), he said that the two countries would be in charge of the “Latin American production” and distribution of the vaccine.
Argentina will be in charge of producing “the active substance,” said Fernández, with Mexico finishing “production and packaging.”
He said that the country “could be in a position to vaccinate” by the first quarter of 2021.
Meanwhile, Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the agreement with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, which also provides for production in Argentina, should result in a vaccine that the government would provide free starting in the first quarter of 2021.
“In other countries, they can decide to charge or select who is vaccinated and who not, but so there isn’t any doubt and to guarantee to all our people, all Mexicans are going to have access to the vaccine,” López Obrador said.
Production of the vaccine in Mexico and Argentina would allow for distribution throughout Latin America, except for Brazil, which had already reached its own agreement with the drug maker.
Sylvia Varela, AstraZeneca’s president in Mexico said the cost of a dose would be around $4, but López Obrador said the government would cover that expense.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said that the foundation of Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim would effectively guarantee that production starts on time. He said results from the Phase III clinical trials are expected in November.