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Russia to Supply Mexico With 24 Million COVID-19 Vaccines, President Says

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Russia will supply Mexico with 24 million doses of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine over the next two months, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said after a phone call on Monday, January 25th, with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Kirill Dmitriev is the CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund - one of the world's leading sovereign funds with a reserve capital of $10 billion under its management.
Kirill Dmitriev is the CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund – one of the world’s leading sovereign funds with a reserve capital of US$10 billion under its management. The Russian Direct investment Fund is behind the creation of the Sputnik Vaccine. (Photo internet reproduction)

Putin’s pledge to provide 24 million doses marks a sharp increase from a previous target from last week of 7.4 million doses through March, though some doubts over Russia’s production capacity persist.

Russia’s vaccine diplomacy has developed goodwill in Latin America after other pharmaceutical companies including U.S.-based Pfizer Inc announced shortfalls in distribution plans.

Lopez Obrador took the call with Putin despite announcing on Sunday that he was himself infected with COVID-19 and was being treated for mild symptoms.

The Mexican leader added in a post on Twitter that he had invited the Russian head of state to visit Mexico.

Earlier on Monday, Mexico’s foreign minister said the country had Russian government backing for imminent deliveries of Sputnik V.

During the first three months of this year, tens of millions of doses are expected in Mexico from the Gamaleya Center, Sputnik V’s developer, as well as China’s CanSino Biologics Inc, Britain’s AstraZeneca and Pfizer.

But with Monday’s announcement, Sputnik V would be by far Mexico’s most-used vaccine over that time, in part because Pfizer cut back on what it had originally committed to Mexico.

Mexico’s health regulator has not yet approved Sputnik V, despite promising a quick process after a senior health official received clinical data during a visit to Argentina.

Argentina has spearheaded Sputnik V’s arrival in Latin America, adopting the vaccine early and administering hundreds of thousands of doses since late last year.

Global vaccine bottlenecks have been exacerbated by many wealthier nations refusal to participate in COVAX, a global vaccine program co-led by the World Health Organization.

The global body seeks to deliver at least 2 billion COVID-19 doses worldwide this year, with at least 1.3 billion for poorer countries.

But it has so far struggled to secure enough shots due to a shortage of funds, while richer countries have booked large volumes of vaccines for themselves.

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