BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) -Argentina’s government said on Wednesday that it met with representatives of drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc to ask about “difficulties” in the production of its COVID-19 vaccine and supply of it to the country.
Health Minister Carla Vizzotti formally requested a report on the progress in the production and quality control of the vaccine that is partially being made in Argentina and completed in Mexico and the United States.
“We had a new meeting with the president of AstraZeneca Argentina and representatives of the firm to ask them to report as soon as possible about the possible difficulties that the vaccine production process is going through,” Vizzotti said.
She also demanded an estimated delivery schedule for the vaccines, saying the information was “vital for the organization of the vaccination campaign.”
Argentina struck a deal last November with AstraZeneca to receive around 22 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine being developed with the University of Oxford, with the aim to start deliveries in the first half of this year.
The vaccines were meant to be produced regionally by Argentine firm mAbxience and Mexican laboratory Liomont. The latter has faced production delays, which has raised tensions as governments struggle to ramp up inoculation programs.
The delays in U.S. and European vaccines arriving in the region have pushed countries like Mexico and Argentina toward deals with Russia and China.
Argentine Foreign Minister Felipe Sola met with Cuban Ambassador Pedro Pablo Prada to discuss an Argentine proposal to help finance an increase in the output of Cuban vaccines, the ministry said in a statement.
“Our country awaits the completion of the talks at the presidential level with the objective that once they are concluded, to be able to accelerate a possible agreement,” it said.
(Reporting by Adam Jourdan and Walter Bianchi; Editing by Peter Cooney)