Mexico Health Regulator Authorizes Cuba's COVID Vaccine for Emergency Use as Baja California Sur Becomes Country's Epicenter of Coronavirus
Mexico's health regulator Cofepris on Wednesday, authorized Cuba's COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, despite the World Health Organization (WHO) not yet approving the said jab.
According to Thomson Reuters Foundation, Cofepris said in a statement that Cuba's COVID vaccine known as Abdala received a "favorable technical opinion" from experts.
Furthermore, the council claimed about having "sufficient evidence" that Cuba's COVID jab is "safe and effective."
So far, Mexico has granted emergency use authorization to at least 10 COVID vaccines, including China's Sinopharm and CanSino, and U.S. Pfizer vaccine.
However, the issuance of emergency use authorization does not necessarily mean that the Mexican government will administer Abdala in Mexico.
Scientists from Cuba developed three homegrown vaccines against COVID-19. Among those three, Cuban experts claimed Abdala is among the world's most effective jab with more than 90 percent efficacy rate.
Mexico is not the only country that granted authorization on Cuba's Abdala vaccine. The said vaccine is authorized in other countries, including Nicaragua and Vietnam.
Baja California Sur Becomes Mexico's COVID Epicenter
The issuance of the Mexico health regulator's emergency use authorization came as Baja California Sur became the country's epicenter of coronavirus cases.
According to the latest data from Mexico's health ministry, there are 1,888 active cases in Baja California Sur, Mexico. The rate of infection in the state was reportedly 230 infections per 100,000 people.
About half of the active cases in the city were reportedly from Los Cabos, located on the state's southern tip, while other cases were from La Paz, which is the state's capital.
Baja California Sur Victor Castro blamed the spike in COVID cases on the influx of tourists in their state.
"The hotels in Los Cabos are full and there are more infections," Castro underscored.
According to reports, many of the tourists who come to Baja California Sur came from the United States, where the Omicron variant is rampant.
Tourists in Mexico Can Lead to Increase in COVID Cases: Experts Say
It can be recalled that Mexico does not require incoming travelers to give negative COVID-19 tests or go to mandatory quarantine.
Virologist and researcher from Autonomous University of San Luis Potosí, Andreu Comas, said that family gatherings during the holidays and the entrance of travelers without presenting negative COVID-test results will heighten the coronavirus cases in the country.
"All these crowds of people that are going to be in the airport these [vacation] days will develop symptoms in a few days and continue the chain of transmission," Comas underscored.
Meanwhile, experts believe Mexico is on the verge of COVID's fourth wave.
The director of molecular genetics laboratory from National Autonomous University (UNAM), Laurie Ann Ximénez-Fyvie, said in an interview that 28 percent of the COVID cases in Mexico are caused by the Omicron variant.
However, Rodrigo Jácome Ramírez, a scientist and academic at UNAM, said that Mexico only records "fewer" cases of Omicron due to a lack of a more "robust" registration system.
On Tuesday, Mexico's deputy health minister, Hugo López-Gatel, acknowledged that their country can witness more COVID cases. However, the minister expressed optimism that hospitalizations and death due to the virus will not spike due to their vaccination rate.
Authorities noted that more than 80 percent of Mexican adults are vaccinated against COVID-19 and that their government is now offering booster shots to people aged 60 and above.
This article is owned by Latin Post.
Written By: Joshua Summers
WATCH: Cuba Says Abdala Vaccine 92% Effective Against Coronavirus - From Al Jazeera English
Subscribe to Latin Post!
Sign up for our free newsletter for the Latest coverage!