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23 Oct, 2020 11:47

AstraZeneca’s vaccine rejected by Covid-stricken Peru over high costs and lack of data

AstraZeneca’s vaccine rejected by Covid-stricken Peru over high costs and lack of data

The government of Peru is dropping the costly AstraZeneca vaccine, as the company failed to provide testing data and is offering too few inoculations.

Speaking on Thursday, Peruvian Prime Minister Walter Martos stated that the multinational pharmaceutical company AstraZenaca had not provided the government with enough information about the candidate vaccine, adding that the price was too high and the quantity available was limited. 

They were offering us a very small quantity of vaccines for the country in comparison to other laboratories that are offering us larger quantities at lower costs.

Martos also claimed that AstraZeneca required a substantial advance payment that would be lost in the event the candidate vaccine did not meet the required safety standards.

The prime minister said the government had requested testing data from the pharmaceutical company, but it had not been forthcoming. He added that other firms had provided the requested data, but AstraZeneca had not. 

His comments follow those of Minister of Health Pilar Mazzetti, who claimed the lack of information meant a prior agreement could not be reached. Mazzetti also highlighted the reported complications in the AstraZeneca vaccine trial, noting the death of a Brazilian participant earlier in the week and two cases of transverse myelitis in the UK. 

AstraZeneca, which developed its vaccine in conjunction with the University of Oxford, had planned to conduct trials in Peru. China’s Sinopharm is already undertaking tests in the country, and US multinational Johnson & Johnson is expected to do the same.  

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Peru has been one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, but the rate of new infections is falling. Martos said that a study had found that 35 percent of the population have Covid antibodies, meaning they had already been infected. However, there was no room for complacency, he cautioned: “We have a percentage of between 60 and 65 percent of people still susceptible to being infected.”

On Wednesday, the country registered 2,991 new cases and 47 new deaths. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Peru has recorded 879,876 infections and 33,984 fatalities. The Andean nation has the highest mortality rate in the world with respect to the total population.

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