Agreement with Pfizer: the Government is working on a special operation to bring vaccines to the country and on a new transfer protocol to preserve them

Bruno Yacono

After more than a year of long and conflictive negotiations, the national government announced on Tuesday the signing of a binding agreement with the Pfizer laboratory for 20 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine, which will arrive in the country in 2021 as confirmed by the Minister of Health of the Nation Carla Vizzotti.

That is why at the Casa Rosada they work against the clock to try to agree with the directors of the international firm how the logistics of the arrival of vaccines to Argentina. In this sense, as learned, the intention of the Government, as happened with the contracts for Sputnik V and Sinopharm, is to fetch the doses on North American soil. For that, this same Tuesday, in the Official Gazette the approval of the direct contracting with Aerolineas Argentinas (open option based on the needs of the Government) to carry out special flights which will aim to bring to the country medical and biological supplies and equipment to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, as this media announced on Sunday, July 25.

In the particular clauses of this framework agreement between the Ministry of Health of the Nation and Aerolineas Argentinas, a series of flights to Atlanta (4 operations at a unit price of U $ S197,821); Dallas (8 flights at a unit value of U$S209.181) Y Miami (5 trips to U$S169.906 each), which are outlined as the destinations to which the Government would go to find the doses of Pfizer and those corresponding to other US pharmaceutical companies with which it negotiates vaccines, among these Moderna, with which an agreement has already been signed for 20 million Of units.

Before consulting in the Ministry of Health affirmed that the destinations in the United States that are mentioned in the document “These are the vaccine production plants that are currently approved.”

However, it is not yet confirmed that it is the Government that will look for the vaccines, since Pfizer could impose that the doses be delivered through another private logistics operator. The talks will be intense for the next two weeks.

Another no minor issue will be to have the refrigeration system for Pfizer doses ready, which must remain at -70 degrees in case of long-term storage, although a recommendation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) indicated that doses can remain at temperatures between -25 and -15 ° C for a single period of two weeks, which would facilitate its distribution throughout Argentina. This represents that they can be transported in standard pharmaceutical freezers.

In other words, those Pfizer vaccines that the Government wishes to save for use as a possible booster in 2022, that is, those that will be stored long-term, must remain at a temperature between -90 and -60˚C in special freezers. The doses to be used during this year can be kept at a considerably lower temperature for 14 days, always according to the recommendations of the EMA.

The National Ministry of Health told that the public hospital system has the capacity to preserve the vaccine in the long term.

These issues should be defined shortly since Vizzotti herself assured that reaching an agreement on these points will allow progress in define a delivery schedule for the doses and the form of payment for them. Pfizer’s serum can be used in children between the ages of 12 and 17 as it has obtained approval from the North American FDA. This dose will be added to those that Moderna, which has just obtained the approval of the EMA for its pediatric use. Argentina already has 3.5 million doses of this serum donated by the Joe Biden administration.

Special flights to China

The framework agreement also details that vaccines and supplies may be collected in other destinations Guangzhou, Shanghai Y Beijing, in China. In fact, this Tuesday, Vizzotti confirmed that the Government has already signed the payment of the first 200 thousand doses of CanSino, within the framework of the agreement for 5.4 million serums. Aerolineas Argentinas would also go looking for these doses, as it did with Sinopharm.

During much of the first wave, the costs of flights to Russia and China for vaccines they kept hidden, but according to the documentation you accessed, the cost to be paid for these new operations rises to the In $ S36,099,046.

What are the new destinations to go to look for vaccines and supplies?

China – Beijing (12 flights) – At $ S400,000 (unit price).

China – Shanghai (4 services) – U$S422.044 (unit price).

China- Guangzhou (4 flights) – U$S425.047 (unit price).

India – Mumbia (6 flights) – U $ S376,939 (unit price).

India – Delhi (2 flights) – U $ S371.389 (unit price).

India – Hyderabad (12 flights) – U$S389.624 (unit price).

Mexico – Mexico DF (4 flights) – U$S181.419 (unit price).

Brazil – Sao Paulo (6 flights) – U$S54.637 (unit price).

Netherlands – Amsterdam (2 flights) – U $ S562.458 (unit price).

South Korea – Seoul (12 flights) – U$S425.047 – (unit price).

Russia – Moscow (34 flights) – U$S300.000 – (unit price).

· USA – Atlanta (4 flights) – U $ S197,821 – (unit price).

· USA – – Dallas (8 flights) – U$S209.181 – (unit price).

· USA. – Miami (5 flights) – U$S169.906 – (unit price).

For its part, placing India on the list of destinations responds to the negotiations that the administration of Fernández and Axel Kicillof faced with laboratories such as Covaxin from India. Flights to China will also be used to go in search of doses of CanSino, which the Government assured could be ready in August.

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