At a news conference Thursday morning in Mexico City, biotech firm AstraZeneca's Executive Sylvia Varela said production for the Covid-19 vaccine will begin in 2021.
"During the first quarter of 2021, we will start manufacturing and packing in Mexico to export to other countries," she said, adding that once they have Phase three results —expected in November —they will begin the registry, reports the CNN.
The Phase three trial will cover 50,000 people in England, the US, South Africa and Brazil she said
"It is a non-profit strategy, our goal is to bring the vaccine to Mexico as soon as possible. We feel honored to produce a vaccine in Mexico for the Mexicans and Latin America," Varela said, adding that the final cost of the vaccine should be no more than 4 US dollars.
"The production line set here gives us a lower price than the ones we've seen in other countries. We don't have the final cost because we're still working on it, but it will be around USD 4; it shouldn't exceed $4," she said.
Valera explained the agreement expects to set an equitable distribution across the region.
"We must try to set an equitable distribution in all the countries. Today we're going to speak with the Latin American governments. They will decide their interest and purchase intention. Once we finish, we will prioritize vulnerable populations of each country to carry out this equitable access."
"As you know, there are four memorandums of understanding for protocols of phase three in Mexico. The latest is this production agreement. When the authorities give permission, we will start producing it," Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said at Thursday's press conference.
Ebrard added that governments will request vaccines for their countries and appreciated the support and coordination from Argentina.
Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell said the vaccine will be "universal and at no cost in Mexico because that's the Mexican government's plan."
The first agreement for a Covid-19 vaccine available for all countries in Latin America, except Brazil, was announced Wednesday evening when Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez said that the agreement signed between AstraZeneca and Mexican based Slim Foundation establishes the production of 150 to 250 million vaccines. The vaccines would be available for the first semester of 2021, he said.
The Mexican Foreign Minister referred to the access and distribution for the vaccine, saying, "It's important to know that it's a non-profit purpose; it's that the region will have access to the vaccine. This will mean that the vaccine, instead of being distributed in Mexico in one year, will be distributed six or seven months ahead, which makes a difference for the economy and health."