Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines now available in Mexican pharmacies

As of Wednesday, doses of the new Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 are available at some of Mexico’s biggest pharmacy chains.

The new immunizations are available at some branches of Farmacias del Ahorro, Farmacias Benavides, Farmacias San Pablo and Farmacias Guadalajara, among others, with costs ranging from 848 pesos (US $49.78) to 999 pesos (US $58.65), which is less than some recent estimates made by officials.

Currently, Pfizer, Abdala and Sputnik are the only Covid-19 vaccines available in Mexico. Moderna’s Spikevax vaccine has been authorized by Cofepris but has not yet been distributed to pharmacies. (Demián Sánchez/Cuartoscuro)

The shots will be administered by on-site registered nurses in the consultorios (consulting rooms) adjacent to the pharmacies.

Suggested for those 5 and over, COVID-19 vaccines are also available for free at public health centers throughout Mexico, President López Obrador assured in his Wednesday presser. 

The president said he got vaccinated “about a month ago” and received “both: the COVID one and the flu one. And it was all good. I didn’t even have a reaction.”

The Mexican health regulatory agency (Cofepris) announced Dec. 8 that it had authorized the sale of the Pfizer (Comirnaty Omicron XBB 1.5) and Moderna (Spikevax monovalent XBB 1.5) vaccines.

The vaccines both have an updated formula that works against the Omicron variant XBB.1.5 of Sars-COV2.

The plan is to distribute them through vaccination centers, private medical practices, hospitals and authorized pharmacies. Consumers are urged to check the brand of vaccine available and the cost, if any.

Farmacias San Pablo said it will have the Pfizer vaccine at 77 branches in the Valley of Mexico and the states of Morelos, Querétaro and Puebla for 848 pesos (US $49.78). Farmacias Benavides is selling it at 999 pesos (US $58.65), with discounts on any subsequent shots scheduled for family members.

López Obrador said he is against regulating prices because medicines that “save lives should not be limited or controlled.” The most important thing is getting the drug widely distributed “for the people — for everyone, for rich and poor.”

Epidemiologist Ruy López Ridaura, who has replaced Hugo López-Gatell as Mexico’s deputy health minister, said that roughly 19 million flu vaccines have been administered this flu season, approximately 53% of the goal of 35 million. However, only 3.8 million anti-COVID-19 doses have been given, approximately 18% of the goal.

“We have vaccines available in almost all health centers, in all entities,” he said by way of a reminder. He also noted that while COVID-19 positivity has been “decreasing continuously,” influenza has been on the rise since early November, with positivity right now “close to 20%.” Mexico launched its national COVID-19 and influenza vaccination campaign in mid-October.

Regarding the Pirola variant of COVID-19, which is a subvariant of Omicron, López Ridaura said that there has been only one confirmed case in all of Mexico since August (in Mexico City).

Regarding the production of a COVID-19 vaccination in Mexico called Patria, the new deputy health minister said he is hopeful it will be available soon.

“They have calculated the capacity to produce up to 4 million doses in the first quarter [of 2024],” he said. “We will see how necessary that will be for the country, but we are also focusing on our commitment of [having the vaccine] for the next [2024-25] winter season.”

With reports from Milenio and Sin Embargo

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