Mexico has approved the Cuban vaccine Abdala against covid-19. The Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (Cofepris) has authorized its application this Wednesday considering that it complies with the requirements of “quality, safety and efficacy”, according to a statement. Mexico thus becomes one of the first countries to authorize this vaccine, not recognized for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO), which joins the other nine that are being used to immunize the entire population rise of infections due to the omicron variant. The approval, however, also has an ideological component, insofar as Mexico gives a boost to the island with the recognition of this vaccine for emergency use.
The biologic received a “favorable technical opinion” from experts at the New Molecules Commission, which has cleared the way for its use. The authorization of Cofepris, as an authority recognized by the Pan American Health Organization, opens the doors for its introduction in other countries of the region. “Cofepris decisions are recognized by various countries in the region, which is why the approved vaccines are likely to be used in other nations,” the statement said.
Abdala is the first Latin American vaccine to receive an authorization from the Mexican health authorities. In July, the Cuban Center for State Control of Medicines (Cecmed) approved the application of this vaccine, after verifying an efficacy of the 92.28% against covid-19. Venezuela, whose government maintains close ties with the Cuban regime, included Abdala in its immunization campaign since the summer. It was followed in October by Nicaragua, where Soberana 02 is also applied, developed by the Cuban Fund for Science and Innovation (FONCI).
In recent months, the López Obrador government has become a staunch defender of the island. On more than one occasion, the Mexican president has asked that the embargo on the island be ended and has come to question the protests that demand more democracy and freedom in Cuba, always in defense of the Castro regime. In addition, since the beginning of the López Obrador administration, Mexico has built bridges with Cuba, both for the participation of Cuban doctors in helping to combat the pandemic and for Mexico’s intention to extend its social programs on the island.
Mexico, which also develops its own vaccine under the name Patria, is already applying nine other types of biologics. The first to receive authorization from Cofepris was Pfizer, in December of last year. Since August, when the use of China’s Sinopharm was approved, the regulatory body had not issued any more authorizations.
Cofepris’ decision comes at a difficult time. Contagions break records in the US and Europe due to the push of the omicron variant. Mexico is no exception and registers increases in cases, mainly in tourist states. Baja California Sur, for example, reports the highest increase in infections since summer, during the third wave, and Mexico City has canceled the year-end concert as a precautionary measure.
The Undersecretary of Health, Hugo López-Gatell, acknowledged on Tuesday that this variant is more transmissible than the previous ones, but he trusted that the immunization campaign will contain hospitalizations and deaths. “We will see more cases, but fewer hospitalizations,” said the official. 88% of the population over 18 years of age have already received at least one dose.
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