Mexican officials celebrated the announcement on Wednesday that the country had finally developed its own COVID-19 vaccine, more than two years after inoculations from the US, Europe and China.
It was not clear what would be used for the vaccine, codenamed “Patria” or “Motherland,” which was developed in a joint effort between the government and Avimex, a Mexican company that previously worked on animal vaccines.
Vaccine consumption in Mexico declined sharply in late 2022 and 2023, and Mexico still has millions of doses of the Abdala vaccine purchased from Cuba.
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Maria Elena Alvarez-Buyla, head of Mexico’s government commission for science and technology, said the new vaccine would be approved for use as a booster shot. He did not say whether the government drug approval agency had formally authorized the Patria vaccine.
Mexico started developing the Patria vaccine in March 2020. But testing was slow, and the country imported 225 million doses, mainly of Astra-Zeneca and Pfizer, and some Chinese vaccines.
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Mexico bought 9 million doses of the Cuban-made Abdala vaccine in September 2022, even though it was designed for a coronavirus variant circulating in 2020 or 2021, not the current variant. Some Mexicans have shown up to take booster shots of Cuba.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has made a point of trying to make Mexico self-sufficient in as many industries as it can, while at the same time supporting Cuba.
“This vaccine opens the door to recover sovereignty,” Alvarez-Buyla said.
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Mexico’s official death toll of test-confirmed COVID-19 deaths is about 334,000, but testing was scarce in the early days of the pandemic and the government’s own review of death certificates finds more than 505,000 deaths where COVID-19 was diagnosed as a was listed as the reason. To contribute to the cause of death.
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