After President López Obrador criticized the World Health Organization (WHO) for taking too long to approve two COVID-19 vaccines, the head of the United Nations agency suggested he leave it up to the experts.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus advised López Obrador to send medical experts to learn more about the process used to approve vaccines.
The president chastised the WHO on Tuesday for its tardiness in approving the Sputnik V and CanSino vaccines, both of which have been used in Mexico. He said he would send a letter to the organization asking it to expedite its process.
Asked about the president’s remarks at a press conference on Thursday, Tedros said he was unaware of them.
“We haven’t heard from Mexico. … If they have any concerns they can ask us, they can send us a message and we can give them any answer. This is the first time I’m getting information that they have concerns,” the director-general said.
“If they’re interested they can send experts to see how we do it here. … Instead of a president raising this issue without any contact with our experts, its better to leave it up to the experts to discuss. … If he wants to know [about the vaccine approval process] I think he can send experts” and they can discuss it, Tedros said.
“One thing I would like to assure his excellency the president is that we use data and evidence and principles, nothing else, and the final recommendations come from experts with the right skills and experience,” he said.
López Obrador’s concern about the Sputnik and CanSino shots not being certified by the WHO stems from the United States’ announcement that all travelers seeking to enter the U.S. will have to be fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine starting November 8.
In other COVID-19 news:
• Mexico’s accumulated case tally rose to 3.76 million on Wednesday with 5,069 new infections reported. The Health Ministry reported 424 additional fatalities, lifting the official COVID-19 death toll to 285,347. There are 33,414 estimated active cases.
Tabasco has the highest number of active cases on a per capita basis with just over 70 per 100,000 residents. Baja California, Mexico City and Guanajuato are the only other states where there are more than 50 active cases per 100,000 people.
• Almost 113.5 million vaccine doses have been administered in Mexico, according to the latest Health Ministry data, after just over 450,000 shots were given Wednesday. Almost 69.5 million adults have received at least one shot, and three-quarters of that number are fully vaccinated.
In percentage terms, 78% of adults have received at least one shot. The real vaccination rate among adults is likely at least a few points higher as many Mexicans have traveled to the United States to get their shots.
• The federal government reiterated this week that companies cannot legally require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
“In Mexican laws there’s no justification for that. If someone is asking you for your vaccination certificate in order to report to work, he or she is committing an offense. Putting conditions on access to work is not legal,” Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell said Tuesday.
Mexico News Daily