MEXICO CITY (AP) — A potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University will be produced in Mexico if its advanced trials are successful and it receives regulatory approval, the government said Thursday.
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.
AstraZeneca said the agreement covers an initial production of 150 million doses for the region.
Mexico already had agreements with four vaccine projects to carry out Phase III trials in the country, but this is the first production agreement.