PAHO and Mexico reject campaign against Cuba’s Abdala vaccine

Mexico, Nov 29 (Prensa Latina) The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Secretariat of Health of Mexico City rejected a campaign against Cuba’s homemade Abdala vaccine and others in favor of the so-called updated antigens.

The campaign apparently comes from agents who are intensifying the commercial promotion of Covid-19 vaccines authorized for sale in Mexican pharmacies by the Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks (COFEPRIS) against Abdala and Russia’s Sputnik V, which are included in the Government’s free program and enjoy great prestige.

Mexico City’s Secretary of Health Olivia Lopez Arellano stated that Abdala is a vaccine that has been tested by COFEPRIS, which has endorsed its power, safety and efficacy.

They are endorsed vaccines and, in that sense, we administer them safely. We recommend that people be vaccinated against Covid-19 with the Abdala vaccine and against influenza, since both vaccines can be administered simultaneously, she said.

PAHO Director General Jarbas Barbosa, in turn, made it clear that Mexico, like any other country, has regulatory health authorities that are capable of reviewing clinical trials, phase 1, 2 or 3, as well as verifying the quality, efficacy and safety of the vaccine candidates, whether or not they are endorsed by the WHO.

He explained that the World Health Organization (WHO) pre-approves the vaccines it orders. It does not pre-approve all vaccines.

Only those that are requested. There may be, for example, a very good vaccine in France, but the producer only wants to sell it in France, so it does not require WHO pre-approval.

Barbosa added that Mexico has COFEPRIS, which is one of the highest quality agencies, one of four eight-level authorities we have in the Latin American region. And PAHO does not recommend brands. PAHO recommends that partners use vaccines that are registered in their own country, he added.

Most importantly, PAHO considered unjustified the demand of some sectors to apply updated vaccines against Covid-19 because they are based more on commercial criteria than on public health protection policies.

Barbosa warned to be careful about what is public health and what is market, because many times vaccine producers, (as also happens with drug producers), make a lot of propaganda, even involving health professionals, that the new version of the vaccine has much more protection, but it is necessary to verify and be careful, he explained.

According to PAHO, there are very consistent statistics that the Covid-19 vaccines that contain the original strain of the coronavirus are still very effective in preventing severe cases and deaths. So it is very important to take the vaccines that are available. That’s the recommendation we make, he said.

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