More than a year after the start of the negotiations, the Government closed an agreement with Pfizer, which will provide 20 million dose to the country since the contract is formalized and until the end of 2021. This was confirmed by the Minister of Health Carla Vizzotti in her morning press conference, who also announced that next week the first batch of 200,000 doses to be shipped by China’s CanSino.
During 13 months the Government negotiated with Pfizer, with a four-month break after the sanction of the controversial vaccine law and the controversial inclusion of the term negligence (see page 4). In this context of constant comings and goings, the issue was a constant on the political agenda and in the intersections between the ruling party and the opposition, which asked the Government for details of that contract that was extended over time.
“Fruit of effort of months, yesterday (for Monday) a binding agreement was signed with the Pfizer laboratory for 20 million doses of vaccines during 2021”, said Vizzotti. “Delivery will be between the final agreement and December“added the minister. Thus, Argentina will join other countries in the region that have already been receiving deliveries from the US laboratory since the first semester.
Vizzotti slipped that arriving doses are likely to be used in pediatric patients, as Pfizer is one of the few laboratories authorized to apply your vaccine in children under 18 years of age. “It is an important authorization that the laboratory has to apply to adolescents between 12 and 17 years old, to be able to expand that age range and continue working on everything that means accelerating vaccination in 2021 and thinking about the 2022 strategy,” said the minister .
The signature of the contract with Pfizer generated reactions in the opposition, which had been demanding for a long time that the Casa Rosada accelerate the negotiations with one of the main developers of the vaccine industry. The main referents of the opposition space celebrated the agreement, but harshly questioned the Government for not having been able to close earlier as “thousands of deaths would have been avoided.”
One of the most active in social networks was the president of PRO, Patricia Bullrich. “Finally, the Pfizer vaccine ceased to be the delivery of national sovereignty, after dark turns and inflamed speeches. With eight months of delay, Argentines will have a vaccine that would have prevented thousands of deaths. Now we will receive it to save our lives.” he wrote on Twitter.
Main UCR referents also spoke out with questions about the Government’s health policy. Cordovan deputy Mario Negri also appealed to irony by saying that “in the end it was not necessary to hand over the glaciers”, one of the arguments that part of the ruling party had expressed at the time not to advance in the negotiations with the laboratory.
“Exorbitant delays from” friendly “labs, Biden’s donation, pressure from parents of kids who need vaccines and the opposition, and one day the government signed with Pfizer! There were no glaciers to hand over and we were not the world’s toys. Ideology had to be dropped“Negri wrote.
His peer, Alfredo Cornejo, was more concise, but just as critical. “One year late and we will never know why,” the deputy for Mendoza tweeted. Louis petri, also from Mendoza, deputy and radical, wrote: “Today the Government agreed with Pfizer, a year passed. The first proposal had been presented by the laboratory on July 25, 2020. A year passed, 104,000 deaths passed“.
From the ruling party, beyond Vizzotti, there were no salient expressions about the agreement with Pfizer. Even President Alberto Fernández did not express himself prior to his trip to Peru, where he went this Tuesday afternoon to participate in the inauguration ceremony of the new president of that country, Pedro Castillo.
The President with the CEO of Pfizer Argentina, Nicolás Vaquer, and the infectious disease specialist Fernando Polack, on July 10 of last year.
Yes, there was a statement from the pharmaceutical company, which validated the agreement announced by the Minister of Health. “We highlight and celebrate the signing of this first binding agreement with the Argentine government, which represents our intention to provide the population of the country with the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine against SARS-CoV-2,” said the laboratory, which also recognized “Argentina’s effort in the fight against this pandemic” and reiterated its “willingness and collaboration to carry out next steps.”
While, not only the negotiation with Pfizer referred to Vizzotti. He also commented that the first batch of vaccines from CanSino, the Chinese laboratory with which an agreement was signed in May, will arrive in the country next week. “Another very relevant novelty is that I signed the payment for the first 200,000 doses of CanSino vaccines, of the contract of 5.4 million doses for 2021 to be able to receive them in the next few days and continue working on the delivery schedule for the remaining doses ”, explained the official.
He also emphasized that “the clinical trial of interchangeability “ and that “the Modern vaccine was added to be able to study it as well.” In that sense, he explained: “We have two centers that are ahead of this and we hope to have news in the coming weeks.”