Mexico’s Potential for Global Vaccine DistributionBy Rodrigo Brugada | Wed, 06/09/2021 - 15:43
The world is undergoing a global vaccine crisis that is exacerbating the usual rift between have and have-nots. In the wake of concerns regarding unequal vaccine distribution, Mexico has claimed an interest in being a vaccine diplomat for Latin America and the Caribbean. The country is also playing a growing role in the vaccine’s supply chain.
Most of the economically developed world has hoarded vaccine doses to ensure their population is kept safe, even at the expense of more vulnerable people elsewhere. WHO Director, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has stated that “high-income countries account for 15 percent of the world’s population, but have 45 percent of the world’ vaccines. Low and lower-middle countries account for almost half of the world’s population, but have received just 17 percent of the world’s vaccines.” He has repeatedly urged wealthy countries to share vaccines to ensure an equitable and swifter global response.
Earlier this week, PAHO expressed in a press release that the health lookout for the Americas region in worrisome. The region is extremely unequal, both within each country’s borders and between different countries. This inequality is also reflected in health outcomes and, in the context of the current pandemic, spread and vaccination rates make this inequality more tangible. After weeks of stabilization throughout the region, and in some places a reduction in COVID-19 cases, there are signs of a rise in community spread. This rise has concentrated mainly on vulnerable regions, such as Central America and certain countries in the Caribbean.
Mexico, for the most part has been part of the few privileged countries with wide access to vaccines, having vaccinated around 20 percent of its total population and around 1 in 4 adults. Mexico, through SRE, has expressed concern regarding the vaccine’s unequal distribution and an interest to be one of the key vaccine diplomats in the Latin America and Caribbean regions. The county has acted in accordance in many instances, deciding to forego of doses when other country has needed them more, as was the case with India earlier this year.
Mexico has also stated interest in having a role to play in the supply chain, as seen with the efforts to start national production of the CanSino, AstraZeneca, Sputnik and Patria vaccines. The country already has a stake in the supply of CanSino and AstraZeneca vaccines, having a joint production and distribution plan with Argentina for the latter. Regarding the Sputnik vaccines, production is planned to start between this month and the next one. The Patria vaccine is still undergoing clinical trials, but it is expected to be ready for mass production later this year.
While Mexico’s current goal regarding vaccination is to have everyone in the country at least partially vaccinated by October, this increase in national production will certainly alleviate the need for vaccines in Latin America and hopefully around the globe. Mexico has historically been at the forefront regarding vaccination, even being a key vaccine producer for the global chain in the past. These new vaccines may bring back Mexico’s potential as a global force in this regard.