COVID-19 vaccines should soon be available for sale in Mexican pharmacies — but getting a shot probably won’t come cheap.
Health regulator Cofepris announced Thursday that it had authorized the “health registration” of Moderna (Spikevax monovalent XBB 1.5) and Pfizer (Comirnaty Omicron XBB 1.5) vaccines, which it found “complied with requirements of quality, safety and effectiveness.”
As a result, the two vaccines can now be sold in Mexico.
However, “the supply of these vaccines must be under medical supervision and mustn’t be applied indiscriminately as they can represent risks to health,” Cofepris said.
The authorization of the sale of the two vaccines comes almost three years after the first shots were administered in Mexico.
Rafael Gual, general director of the National Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry, said in an interview that laboratories in Mexico will be able to import Moderna and Pfizer vaccines once the “definitive health registration” has been issued and they have obtained the appropriate importation permits.
“If everything goes well” the vaccines could start coming into the country in January or February, he said.
Only pharmacies that have permits to sell controlled medications will be able to stock the vaccines, Gual said.
Antonio Pascual, president of the National Association of Pharmacies, said that only 35% of pharmacies in Mexico will be able to sell COVID-19 vaccines.
“You have to have authorization for vaccines, trained personnel and infrastructure,” he said.
“There has to be a special cold chain, because [with] vaccines it’s not just about putting them in the fridge,” Pascual said.
Pfizer, a United States company, and its German partner BioNTech set the list price for their COVID-19 vaccine at US $120 per dose in September. Moderna, also a U.S. company, set the list price for its vaccine at $129 per dose.
Deputy Health Minister Ruy López Riadura said in October that a COVID-19 shot could cost up to 5,000 pesos, or almost US $290 at the current exchange rate, in Mexico.
However, TV Azteca reported that it is estimated that the cost of a shot will be similar to other countries, including the U.S., meaning that doses could retail for just over 2,000 pesos.
With reports from El Financiero