Argentina has officially requested that Great Britain mediate with AstraZeneca’s laboratory for not complying with the deadlines for the delivery of coronavirus vaccines that were expected in March.
The Minister of Health, Carla Vizotti, and Presidential Counselor Cecilia Nikolini, who is in negotiations with laboratories to obtain doses, conveyed the request at a meeting they held on Monday with the British ambassador in Buenos Aires, Mark Kent.
The British vaccine was developed in partnership between the University of Oxford and the Swedish laboratory.
The country of South America An agreement was signed in August 2020 to produce the active ingredient for inoculation in a private Argentine laboratory and send it to Mexico for packaging and later distribution in Latin America.. By the end of the year, it became the first country outside of Britain to approve the use of the vaccine.
Argentina expected for the first month of March 22 million doses conforming to this agreement for domestic production and packaging in Mexico. He did not receive anything.
A government source requesting confidentiality due to the sensitivity of the matter told the AP that Health Minister Vizzotti and Chancellor Nikolini have expressed and demanded discomfort with Kent over AstraZeneca’s breach of the agreement. The British government gets involved in the lab so that Argentina can “keep a portion of the production of the active ingredient” and apply it to its own population.
Officials have also offered as an alternative to Argentina to receive delayed vaccines through the COVAX Fund set up by international organizations like the World Health Organization to provide countries with lower doses of resources. Through this mechanism, the South American country benefited from several thousand doses of Coffeeshield manufactured in India with the same active ingredient as the AstraZeneca vaccine, but the serious health situation in this Asian country has put restrictions on new shipments.
AstraZeneca acknowledged the delay and last week committed to settling shipments in the first half of this year., Although he did not specify a date.
With more than three million infections and nearly 65,000 deaths, the pressure on Alberto Fernández’s government has increased due to the slow pace of the vaccination process. So far, 8 million vaccines have been applied, out of a population of 40 million. One million people received only the two doses.
In this context of scarcity, Left-wing parties have submitted a bill to Congress to announce the local mAbxience laboratory for the public benefit, which is producing the active principle of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Buenos Aires.Thus ensuring that the local population is vaccinated.
For now, the Argentine government is committed to diplomacy with Great Britain, a country whose relations have historically been marked by the struggle for sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands.
“We ask the ambassador to continue to search for more and better opportunities, between the two countries, through the University of Oxford to explore the possibility of being part of the vaccine production chain, in the short and medium term, not only for Argentina but for Latin America to think about the strategic role of our country.” The Minister of Health said in a statement.