BUENOS AIRES (AP) – The Argentine government has resumed negotiations with the Pfizer laboratory to acquire its vaccine against the new coronavirus amid a re-outbreak that has alarmingly increased the number of intensive therapies in public and private hospitals.
Talks with the American pharmaceutical company – which had been frustrated at the end of 2020 – were restarted in the framework of a vaccination plan that is running more slowly than desired.
“Negotiations with Pfizer have been resumed to understand how some changes can be generated to move forward with a possible contract,” presidential adviser Cecilia Nicolini told Futurock FM radio on Tuesday.
The official indicated that the Ministry of Health, together with the team of advisers that she integrates, intend to “agree” with the pharmacist “on the clauses with which we did not agree at the time” and “have an interesting proposal for the Argentina of delivery in time and form ”of the vaccine that is produced together with the German laboratory BioNTech.
The government of President Alberto Fernández hoped to close an agreement with Pfizer to access three million doses of its vaccine before the end of 2020. The State even made a military hospital available for that laboratory and BioNTech to carry out clinical trials in which thousands of volunteers participated.
But the agreement did not prosper due to “unacceptable conditions” presented by Pfizer, such as the approval of a law in Congress that would guarantee immunity from local justice, then-Minister of Health Ginés González García said in December.
The official later pointed out in a meeting with deputies in February that Pfizer executives rejected the word “negligence” appearing in the agreement in reference to the possibility of assuming their eventual responsibility for lawsuits made by people who suffered adverse effects. The company has not commented on the matter.
The vaccine from that pharmaceutical company was, however, the first authorized by the National Administration of Drugs, Food and Medical Technology in December.
The vaccines that are applied in Argentina are the Russian Sputnik V, the one from the Chinese laboratory Sinopharm -from which shipments with more than 300,000 doses have arrived in the last hours- and the one produced by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, supplied through the mechanism United Nations Covax.
The government is still awaiting the arrival of the doses of Oxford and AstraZeneca that Argentina produces together with Mexico and that in principle would arrive in May.
The outbreak has caused a worrying stress on intensive therapies in the city of Buenos Aires and the nearby towns of the province of the same name.
The occupation of critical care beds in the public sector has reached 84% in the Argentine capital and in private clinics the use of these beds is greater than 95%.
Since the arrival of the pandemic in Argentina in March 2020, there have been about 2.9 million infected and more than 62,000 deaths from the new coronavirus.