14ymedio, Mexico, 2 August 2, 2023 — A total of 70,000 doses of the Cuban Abdala vaccine for Covid that expired this month will be destroyed in the Mexican state of Coahuila. According to the local health manager, Roberto Bernal Gómez, people “distrust” this vaccine because it does not have the endorsement of the World Health Organization (WHO). However, for President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, his detractors are “hardcore conservatives” whom he mocked this Wednesday in his morning press conference, saying that “they think Abdala is going to turn them into communists.”
Bernal Gómez informed local media that in January the federal government sent them 99,200 doses, which were under lock and key by the Secretariat of National Defense. However, the population disdained this option. “It’s time for the booster, and the one accepted by the world authority is the bivalent one,” like that of Pfizer and Moderna, which includes components of the original virus strain and the omicron variant.
The official noted that the state tried to return the doses before they expired, but they were not accepted by the federal Ministry of Health. The general director of the National Center for Preventive Programs and Disease Control, Ruy López Ridaura, urged them to continue with the campaign. According to the protocol, they needed 10 candidates before they could open a bottle, but in the face of disinterest, the agency suggested opening the vials even if there was only one interested party, and the rest were discarded.
It only remains to define whether it is the Army that is responsible for the destruction of these vaccines or whether it will be the Coahulia Ministry of Health. Government sources told this newspaper that there were about 227,449 doses of Abdala distributed in the states of Chihuahua, Jalisco and Puebla that expired between July and August of this year.
Saying that it is a matter of national security, the Government of Mexico guards the data on the number of Cuban vaccines given, as well as the cost of the 9,000,000 it bought from the Island. Faced with the criticism of the effectiveness of Abdala, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador reiterated that it will be the “certified” option that Mexicans will have.
“Why would you get another vaccine if it has the same effect?” he said on Tuesday. He offered to rely on “all vaccines,” including the Mexican Patria, “which is ours.” In addition, the Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks endorsed this week the use of the Cuban Soberana as an option for children.
The information came up on Tuesday when the National Autonomous University of Mexico recommended the use of the face mask in its facilities due to the increase in COVID-19 infections.
The Patria vaccine, developed by a group of scientists at the ICAHN School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (USA), whose patent was negotiated by the Mexican laboratory Avimex, is in the review and approval stage of the last phase of clinical trials. María Elena Álvarez-Buylla Roces, director of the National Council of Science and Technology, said last May that from September to December there would be the capacity in the country to produce up to four million vaccines.
The infectious disease specialist of the Medical Center, Francisco Moreno Sánchez, said that at the moment there are no updated vaccines in Mexico and that the use of a bivalent against coronavirus is not planned. “The doses that are circulating, even the Abdala, which does not have approval, were made based on the original variant, which was the variant that China suffered from in 2019,” he told MVS Noticias.
Moreno Sánchez stressed that the WHO suggests that “the first choice should be the bivalent vaccine, if you can get it. The second choice would be to use a vaccine that is approved by the WHO.”
Translated by Regina Anavy
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