Mexican business leaders hope this week to reach an agreement with health authorities that would allow them to purchase doses of Covid-19 vaccines in addition to those already ordered by the government to be administered to their staff.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has guaranteed free universal access to Covid vaccines and the government has purchased enough doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine to vaccinate 125,000 people, starting with health workers in Mexico City and the Pacific State of Colima.
Business leaders told the government they could support the vaccination effort with their distribution chains and use their facilities as vaccination centers.
“Many companies would be more than able and willing to pay for vaccines as well if it gave them access to additional amounts to administer to their workers,” said Patrick Devlyn, chairman of the health committee of CCE, the largest employer. from Mexico. lobby.
While Mexicans shouldn’t have to pay for the vaccine, Mr Devlyn said it was ‘not very productive’ to keep high-risk workers out of work due to the risk of them catching Covid -19.
A resident wears a mask on a street in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico
“It would be cheaper to pay for vaccines than to keep them on the bench,” he said, stressing that such a plan would be “completely voluntary”. The Pfizer / BioNTech jab costs around $ 12 per hit, he said.
Mexico City and its surrounding area, which is home to a quarter of the population, returned this weekend to the highest level of restrictions under which all non-essential services are closed due to an alarming increase in hospitalizations.
Mr Devlyn said he expected further discussions with Hugo López-Gatell, Under Secretary for Health, and Zoé Robledo, head of the State Social Security Institute, IMSS, on Monday to clarify the details.
Mexico has pre-ordered the Pfizer / BioNTech, Astra Zeneca / University of Oxford, and CanSino vaccines and plans to roll out inoculation during 2021, depending on age.
Mr Devlyn said the government plans to purchase an additional 30 million doses of the vaccine in February and the private sector could use the order with its own order, which he said could be for up to 4 million people.