More Than 200,000 Doses of the Cuban Vaccine Abdala Will Expire This Summer in Mexico

Mexico bought 9,000,000 doses of Abdala. (Secretariat of Health of Mexico City)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Mexico City, 11 July 2023 — About 227,449 doses of the Cuban vaccine Abdala, which the Government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador bought in 2022 from the Island as a booster drug against COVID-19 for the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Jalisco and Puebla, will expire between July and August of this year. “The population does not trust” the Cuban drug and prefers other brands, explained Roberto Bernal Gómez, in charge of Health in Coahuila.

Abdala is not among the vaccines recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or its European equivalents, which Mexicans trust, the official said. There are “serious” instances, he added, that “advise the use of ambivalent vaccines,” such as Pfizer and Moderna.

Mexico bought 9,000,000 doses of Abdala that, if this situation continues, will expire over the coming months. This urgency perhaps explains the announcement, days ago, of the inclusion of the Cuban drug in a vaccination campaign, next October, against influenza and COVID-19 for older adults and people who suffer from more than one disease, which is known as associated morbidity.

According to the Undersecretary of Health of Mexico, Hugo López-Gatell, the inclusion of the Cuban drug in the program was carried out in strict accordance with the provisions of the World Health Organization (WHO), which has specified vaccination with the drugs provided for the initial treatment of the coronavirus, such as vaccines, because many countries don’t have access to other medicines more appropriate for the current post-pandemic phase.

However, doctors have pointed out the dilemma in which Mexican hospitals find themselves: on the one hand, the Government of López Obrador recommends the use of the vaccine; on the other, Abdala is not approved by the WHO, argues Francisco Moreno Sánchez, head of Internal Medicine at the ABC Medical Center, in Mexico City.

For the specialist, the inconsistencies cost the country more deaths from coronavirus: 900,000 Mexicans died during the pandemic, he emphasizes.

A source from the Ministry of Health in Puebla confirmed to 14ymedio that, in that state alone, 16,730 Abdala vaccines are about to expire. In addition, other data obtained by this newspaper indicate that in seven states more than 600,000 doses of the Cuban vaccine remain in refrigeration, of which 87,000 are in the state of Coahuila, and they will expire this July.

On December 19, the Government delivered a batch of 104,600 doses to the state of Baja California. Of this total, it is known that 68,141 vaccines were used and 36,459 remain in refrigeration, but they do not match the data offered in February by the deputy director of the state Ministry of Health, Néstor Hernández, who claimed to have 32,780 doses that are valid until August and September.

In Chihuahua there are 75,899 Abdala vaccines in refrigeration, of the 118,960 that were sent to them by the federal Ministry of Health in February. Thanks to the fact that the campaign was extended, 43,061 people were immunized in that territory.

In Tamaulipas, only 7% of the available Cuban vaccines have been administered. According to official data, the federal Secretariat of Social Welfare delivered 119,800 doses to the state, while the registry data of the agency that have been made public indicate that until February, only 8,386 vaccines were administered.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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