Mexico's foreign minister has left for talks in Moscow on a plan to bottle Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine in Mexico after delays in the delivery of shipments from Russia.
Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard left Mexico City on April 25, his office said. Ebrard's visit to Moscow will last through April 28 and include a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.
Birmex, Mexico's state-run vaccine manufacturer, is working with Russia on a plan to bottle Sputnik V in Mexico, Ebrard said last week, adding that there had already been “significant progress” on the plan.
A Health Ministry official said on April 25 that the government's aim is to ramp up distribution of Sputnik V in Mexico and other parts of Latin America.
Mexico's Health Ministry signed an agreement to acquire a total of 24 million doses of Sputnik V, but deliveries are running behind.
The government said in late February that it expected to receive 7.4 million doses of Sputnik V by April and an additional 16.6 million shots in May. Russia has shipped just 1.1 million doses to Mexico to date.
Delays in getting the Sputnik V vaccine and others have prompted Mexico to change its strategy and bottle vaccines domestically. It already has bottled 2.6 million shots of China's CanSino vaccine.
The government is aiming to quicken its vaccination drive, which so far as inoculated only about 4 percent of Mexico’s population of 126 million people.
Nearly 215,000 people have died from COVID-19 in Mexico. The country’s death toll is fourth-highest after the United States, Brazil, and India.