MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s government was due to sign a contract on Wednesday with pharmaceutical company Pfizer for the delivery of its coronavirus vaccine, Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said on Tuesday.
Pfizer has submitted the details about its vaccine to Mexico’s health regulator, Cofepris, and the country’s foreign minister last month said the government expects the vaccine to reach Mexico in December.
Lopez-Gatell said the contract with Pfizer, which developed its vaccine with German partner BioNTech SE, is expected to be signed by Health Minister Jorge Alcocer, and the Finance Ministry was making plans to ensure Mexico sets aside enough money to pay for the Pfizer and other vaccines.
Mexico’s contract with Pfizer will include ways to minimize the challenges associated with its vaccine, which requires that it be transported and stored at -70 degrees Celsius (-94 F).
“The contract that will be signed tomorrow includes provisions for its distribution to be as close to the point of use so that the period of deep freezing is shortened, the distance to be covered is shortened,” Lopez-Gatell said.
He said Mexico’s military will help with the vaccination process.
Lopez-Gatell also said that Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen unit has begun its coronavirus clinical trial in Mexico, where it is looking to have up 20,000 subjects.
Mexico’s Health Ministry on Tuesday reported 8,819 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 825 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 1,122,362 cases and 106,765 deaths.
The government says the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.
(Reporting by Sharay Angulo; Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Leslie Adler)