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Mexico approves AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use

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Mexico has approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for emergency use, hoping to spur a halting vaccination effort that has only given about 44,000 jabs since the third week of December, about 82% of the doses the country has received.

The Pfizer vaccine had been the only one approved for use in Mexico, until Mexican regulators approved the AstraZeneca vaccine on Monday.

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Foreign relations secretary Marcelo Ebrard wrote on Twitter that “the emergency approval for the AstraZeneca vaccine is very good news … with this, production will begin very soon in Mexico!”

A Mexican firm has arranged to do part of the finishing and packaging of the vaccine.

Assistant health secretariat Hugo Lopez-Gatell said he erroneously reported approval for Chinese vaccine maker CanSino, noting it had not yet submitted full study results for safety and efficacy.

Mexico’s health secretary Jorge Alcocer, left, coronavirus response leader Hugo Lopez-Gatell, centre, and foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard (Eduardo Verdugo/AP)

Mexico has pinned much of its hopes on the inexpensive, one-shot CanSino vaccine. “It will makes things a lot easier for us,” Mr Lopez-Gatell said.

The Mexican Social Security Institute also released more information about a doctor in northern Mexico who had such a severe allergic reaction to the Pfizer vaccine last week that she was hospitalised in intensive care.

The doctor suffered difficulty breathing, brain inflammation and convulsions a half-hour after getting the shot.

Experts are running tests to determine whether she suffered a rare inflammation of the spinal cord called transverse myelitis. She is reportedly recovering.

Mexico has nearly 1.45 million coronavirus cases and 127,757 deaths.

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