Friday, June 21, 2024

Pharmacies sell out of COVID-19 vaccines on first day of sales

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine went on sale at some Mexican pharmacies on Wednesday, but sold out within five hours at many locations, and didn’t last much longer at others.

Large lines formed at stores from the Farmacias San Pablo chain, which was offering inoculations at 77 of its branches in the Valley of Mexico and the states of Morelos, Querétaro and Puebla.

Vaccine vials
Officials announced the approval of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines in early December. (Mat Napo/Unsplash)

A San Pablo spokesperson said that 3,700 shots were given at 849 pesos (US $49.72) each, but admitted that “the high demand exceeded the available quantity.”

More doses were expected to arrive on Thursday, but while one media report said the number will be 16,000, another cited pharmacy staff in reporting that there was “no certainty” of new doses arriving.

The sale of vaccines produced by Pfizer (Comirnaty Omicron XBB 1.5) and Moderna (Spikevax monovalent XBB 1.5) was approved two weeks ago by Mexican health regulatory agency Cofepris. Both have an updated formula that works against the Omicron variant XBB.1.5 of Sars-COV2.

Although the Moderna vaccine isn’t yet available in Mexico, it was announced earlier this week that the administration of Pfizer shots would begin Wednesday at selected locations. Farmacias del Ahorro, Farmacias Benavides and Farmacias Guadalajara and Farmacias San Pablo were all listed as stockists, although only San Pablo appears to have stocked the drug today.

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 yet to be distributed to pharmacies. (Demián Sánchez/Cuartoscuro)

Newspaper El Financiero interviewed Benavides employees who stated “they still do not know what day they will receive the vaccines” and that not all branches will receive them.

An executive with Farmacias del Ahorro said “the doses will arrive in the next few days,” although one on-site employee said, “maybe after Christmas.”

Additionally, public hospitals around Mexico are offering the Russian Sputnik vaccine and Cuban Abdala vaccine free of charge — although the latter does not protect against newer strains of COVID-19.

The Mexican Red Cross in the state of México will begin offering the Pfizer vaccine to Mexicans at a “rate below the public price currently being offered at different pharmacy chains,” the medical foundation announced.

These shots will also be administered at the Red Cross Central Hospital in Polanco, Mexico City, according to El Universal.

“People of all ages” were seen lining up for the shot, although one pharmacy in the Mexico City suburb of Naucalpan, México state, reported that mostly “older adults” showed up for one of its 180 doses. Another Farmacias San Pablo location had only 80 doses on Wednesday but was expecting 200 more on Thursday. Another location had only 35 doses.

With reports from El Financiero and El Universal

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