Mexico announced Friday that Sinovac, the Chinese manufacturer of the CoronaVac vaccine, has submitted paperwork for approval in Mexico. Another Chinese firm, CanSino, has submitted partial paperwork.
Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard wrote early Friday that the CanSino vaccine had been “applied successfully” in the trials and had applied for authorization. But Assistant Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell later clarified that it had presented only “initial” documents, noting: “They are not yet results” of Phase 3 trials.
CanSino has not released any estimated efficacy rate. Mexico would presumably require those figures for approval.
Sinovac has released a varied range of efficacy estimates from Phase 3 trials in other countries, ranging from as low as 50.65 percent for preventing infections, to 100 percent in preventing severe cases.
Mexico is running out of vaccines, and had placed its hopes on CanSino’s single-shot dose. CanSino has carried out Phase 3 trials in Mexico with 14,425 volunteers enrolled.
Mexico has been promised 8 million doses of the CanSino vaccine by March, and is particularly upbeat about the Chinese shot because it is relatively easy to handle, and will be finished and bottled at a plant in Mexico.
Mexico also recently approved Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, but won’t get that, or more doses of the Pfizer vaccine, until later this month.
Mexico has received only about 760,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and has only about 60,000 of those left, many of which are earmarked for second shots. The country has been able to give doses to only about half its front-line medical personnel so far.
Mexico registered 13,051 confirmed infections Friday, to reach 1.91 million so far. There were 1,368 deaths confirmed, for a total of 164,290. However, Mexico does very little testing, and excess death estimates suggest the real toll is well above 195,000.
Mexico City, the current epicenter of the pandemic in Mexico, remains under the highest level or alert with hospitals over 80 percent full. But on Friday, the city government announced that shopping centers would be allowed to reopen at 20 percent of capacity, as long as customers spent no longer than a half hour inside. It was not clear how that rule could be enforced.
The city’s beleaguered restaurants will be allowed to open three hours longer at night, but only in open-air terraces.