Mexico cuts CanSino COVID-19 vaccine orders by more than half: sources

Archive image. The logo of CanSino Biologics Inc, China’s vaccine specialist, is seen at its factory in Tianjin, China. August 17, 2020. REUTERS / Thomas Peter / File Photo

MEXICO CITY, Dec 29 (Reuters) – Mexico cut its order for COVID-19 vaccines from Chinese firm CanSino Biologics this year by more than half when it became clear that deliveries would fall short of the agreed total, they said on Wednesday. three people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

In July, Mexico informed CanSino that it would reduce vaccine orders to approximately 14.5 million doses from the agreed 35 million while seeking to increase supplies from other sources, according to a Mexican official with knowledge of the discussions.

The first batch of CanSino vaccines arrived in Mexico in March, and almost all of the 14.1 million doses that the North American country has received since then were bottled in the state of Querétaro, in central Mexico.

A source from the Mexican Ministry of Health assured Reuters that the country modified its agreement with the Chinese company when it became clear that CanSino would not deliver the 35 million doses by September, as had been agreed. The contract would not be renewed, the source added.

“The company did not comply with the agreed deliveries in a timely manner,” said the source, who requested anonymity because it was not authorized to testify. “Add to that the fact that just a few days ago the results of his phase 3 trial were published and they are poor.”

Last week, CanSino published in the medical journal The Lancet the results of its clinical trials for its COVID-19 vaccine, which showed the injection is 57.5% effective against the disease caused by the coronavirus, a percentage much less than their peers.

The Mexican Ministry of Health did not respond to a request for comment on the revised CanSino agreement, which was initially reported by the Mexican newspaper La Jornada contract-of-purchase-of-vaccine-tired.

A CanSino representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The launch of the vaccination campaign in Mexico was hampered by tight supplies from pharmaceutical companies, and the government lobbied vigorously for rich countries to make vaccines more accessible to the world’s less well-off nations.

Mexico, the fifth country in the world with the most deaths due to the pandemic, has vaccinated 63% of its 126 million inhabitants against COVID-19 with at least one dose. Injections from nine different firms have been applied in the country, including Pfizer, AstraZeneca and CanSino. On Wednesday, the emergency use of the Cuban vaccine Abdala was approved.

(Reporting by Dave Graham and Diego Oré; Additional reporting by Adriana Barrera and Cassandra Garrison)

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