09:37 GMT28 January 2021
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    Mexico is seeking to extend its vaccination campaign, primarily pinning hopes on the Russian Sputnik V and the joint British-Swedish AstraZeneca shots.

    Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said the country intends to buy as many as 24 million doses of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V, having earmarked $240 million to pay for the batch.

    Earlier, Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell, who travelled to Buenos Aires last week to discuss Argentina’s vaccination campaign using Sputnik V as well as the production of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, said Mexico reached an agreement possibly to buy the Russian human adenovirus-based vaccine.

    “We’re thinking that we could use up to 24 million doses of this vaccine, for 12 million people”, considering that Sputnik V requires two doses for the most effective immunisation, Lopez-Gatell told an evening news conference.

    Both Mexico and Argentina, which began vaccinating healthcare workers using 300,000 doses of Sputnik V, the only vaccine it has administered to date, have authorised the use of the AstraZeneca inoculation, which they plan to manufacture jointly for further distribution in Latin America.  Also, production of the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus jab is slated to be kicked off in Argentina in the second quarter of 2021.

    Mexico has meanwhile inked several COVID-19 vaccine agreements, including with Chinese company CanSino Biologics and the World Health Organization-backed COVAX scheme meant to provide sufficient vaccines for developing countries.

    To date, Mexico which so far has only had access to the Pfizer vaccine, has administered 53,185 doses to healthcare staffers. It reported Monday 7,594 new coronavirus cases and 662 more fatalities, bringing its total to 1,541,633 infections and 134,368 deaths. The worrying data has led the Latin American country to step up efforts to extend its immunisation campaign drastically.

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    Mexico, Russia, vaccination, Sputnik V, vaccine
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