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Mexico, worried about delays, presses for prompt delivery of COVID-19 vaccines

FILE PHOTO: A vial of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is seen ahead of being administered at the Royal Victoria Hospital, on the first day of the largest immunisation programme in the British history, in Belfast, Northern Ireland December 8, 2020. Liam McBurney/Pool via REUTERS

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -Mexico’s government on Monday urged pharmaceutical companies to honor obligations to deliver COVID-19 vaccines on time, as an official expressed concern that U.S. efforts to corner initial supplies for its population might cause delays.

“We reserved ahead of time, we made agreements, what we want now is for the agreements to be honored,” President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told a regular news conference.

Lopez Obrador acknowledged that companies were experiencing heavy demand for the vaccines, but said it was important that the accords reached were respected “on time.”

Mexico has signed purchase agreements for vaccines with several companies, including from U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc, Britain’s AstraZeneca Plc and China’s CanSino Biologics Inc.

Deputy Foreign Minister Martha Delgado told broadcaster Televisa that Mexico will this Monday put in an order for vaccine doses from Pfizer, which she believed could arrive in five to eight days. Initial doses would come from its plant in Belgium, she said.

However, Delgado noted that an executive order signed last week by U.S. President Donald Trump to prioritize U.S. citizens in distribution of U.S.-made vaccines might delay delivery of subsequent vaccine doses arriving from the United States.

Reporting by Raul Cortes; Editing by Dave Graham and Bill Berkrot

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