The COVID-19 vaccine from the US laboratory Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech is getting closer to approval and distribution. Already on the first of this month, they announced that they had requested EU regulatory approval for their vaccine, raising hopes that the first vaccinations could be administered in December.
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Both companies announced that they had submitted an application to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) “for Conditional Marketing Authorization (AMC)” of their vaccine, after tests showed it to be 95 percent effective against the new coronavirus. If approved, the BNT162b2 vaccine could potentially be launched “in Europe before the end of 2020,” they said in a statement.
And once it is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it would take five days to reach Mexico.
On December 10, the FDA will have a meeting to analyze and, if necessary, approve the Pfizer vaccine. The Undersecretary of Health in Mexico, Hugo López-Gatell, said this authorization would give way for the vaccine to begin to be applied in Mexico.
Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard explained what the logistics of transportation would be from the Pfizer plant to the Mexican vaccination points. “We estimate in five business days that this vaccine can arrive in Mexico,” said the Secretary of Foreign Relations (SRE).
So on day 1, it is expected that the vaccines will leave the Pfizer plant, either from the United States or Europe, to Mexico, where they could arrive on day 3 at the airports of Mexico City, Monterrey, Hermosillo, Guadalajara, and Queretaro.
On day 4, the vaccines will go through the customs process and from there they will be sent to the distribution centers. Thus, on day 5, it is expected that they will already be in all the vaccination centers.
The undersecretary of the Mexican Foreign Ministry, Martha Delgado, explained in an interview that the 34.4 million vaccines against COVID-19 that Mexico will receive from Pfizer will be managed by the pharmaceutical company up to the point of vaccination, the company will also solve the difficulties of low-temperature storage.
“It was a negotiation by the Foreign Ministry so that, due to the freezing chain of -70 degrees, that chain of custody is held by Pfizer all the time until the point of vaccination. And the health sector is in a position there to manage it ”, revealed the Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights of the Ministry of Foreign Relations.
The Mexican authorities had shown their reservations with the American vaccine due to the logistical difficulties it presented, mainly in terms of the maintenance temperature, but this Wednesday they announced an agreement for the acquisition of 34.4 million doses of the vaccine.
This is the vaccine that will be the first to be applied in Mexico, at the end of December, once the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (Cofepris) gives the go-ahead, as the health authorities of the United Kingdom have already done and the United States is expected to complete next week.
The first batch, of 250,000 doses, “will be arriving during the month of December,” Delgado clarified, and will be applied in principle to 250,000 people in the health sector, as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The second dose for these first vaccinates – the Pfizer formula consists of two applications – will arrive “three weeks later.”
“It is not a vaccine (the one from Pfizer) of the most expensive that I see in the market. On the contrary, it is an average price, a good price. And for Mexico, we have also achieved, I believe, several negotiations that are interesting in terms of the economic deal and the advance,” Delgado said, without giving the exact figures.