Over 1 million of Mexico’s COVID-19 vaccine doses are set to expire Saturday, leaving authorities racing against the clock to administer shots.
State authorities began large-scale campaigns in the middle of April to administer some 3.7 million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines before they expire at the end of the month. Second booster shots are available in many states, although only just over half of adults have had a first booster.
According to a report published Friday by the newspaper Milenio, Tamaulipas has some 500,000 unused shots, Tlaxcala has 200,000, Querétaro has 30,000 and the State Workers Social Security Institute (ISSSTE) – a major health care provider with hospitals across the country – has over 400,000.
Among the other states that have unused shots that are set to expire on Saturday is Puebla. Governor Miguel Barbosa confirmed that the state has unused doses of both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines, but didn’t reveal how many.
Given that the federal government likely paid at least a few dollars per dose – contracts with pharmaceutical companies haven’t been made public – shots worth millions of dollars will go to waste if they are not administered before Sunday.
The federal government allocated almost US $1.7 billion to buy a range of COVID-19 vaccines including AstraZeneca, Pfizer, CanSino, SinoVac and Sputnik V shots. It also received millions of shots from the United States government under a loan scheme.
About two-thirds of Mexico’s approximately 126 million citizens has received at least one shot, according to The New York Times vaccinations tracker. That figure should increase in the coming weeks as shots are made available for the first time to children aged 12 to 14 without existing health problems.
With reports from Milenio