First batch of COVID-19 vaccine arrives in Mexico, Latin America

Latin America received its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines formally approved on Wednesday, when Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs called the arrival “the beginning of the end of that pandemic”.

The vaccine was brought in by a DHL flight at Mexico City’s international airport. The crews began to unload batches of the same Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that began to be administered to Americans last week, the Associated Press reported.

The authorities did not disclose how many batches were part of the relatively small shipment, which is expected to be used to test vaccine logistics procedures once Mexico and other Latin American countries start receiving larger quantities.

Health professionals in Mexico City and the city of Saltillo, in the north of the country, will begin receiving vaccines on Thursday.

Mexico expects to receive 1.4 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by the end of January.

Argentina announced Wednesday the approval of two additional vaccines for imminent use, one from Russia and one that has no distribution agreement.

The Russian vaccine Sputnik V was approved on an emergency basis and is scheduled to arrive in Argentina with a batch of 300,000 doses, although the vaccine is considered “a safe and effective therapeutic tool”.

The Sputnik V vaccine has faced some criticism in Russia for its hasty approval procedure.

The Pfizer vaccine has also been approved by health officials in Argentina, although the government has yet to make a deal to start obtaining lots.

In addition, other Latin American countries are expected to receive shipments of the Pfizer vaccine this week, as Brazil has begun to receive shipments from other producers.