The national government specified this Tuesday a zoom with high-ranking officials from the White House and North American laboratories to coordinate the details of a donation of two to three million Pfizer, Moderna, Novamax and Janssen vaccines. The obstacles that arose are two: lThe guarantees and the approval of the Anmat.
There was a principle of agreement on the guarantees that would be delivered through the Covax program of the World Health OrganizationIn other words, the North American laboratories would accept the indemnity that Argentina already gave Covax. The question of the Anmat is advanced in the case of Moderna and would accelerate with Novamax and Janssen. Pfizer has been approved for months in Argentina.
In parallel, The White House pledged to accelerate US approval of the Oxfod / AstraZeneca vaccine, with which 60 million doses stored in the northern country would be released -to buy them. Argentina would have access to several million of these vaccines.
Zooming in on American Vaccines
In the zoom they participated, on the Argentine side, the minister Carla Vizzotti, the presidential adviser, Cecilia Nicolini and the ambassador in Washington, Jorge Argüello. On the North American side there were White House officials and representatives of the laboratories based in the United States. The climate was one of harmony and Biden’s men insisted that the president wants everything to happen, so he asked the laboratories to make their demands more flexible.
The obvious antecedent was the disagreement with Pfizer, a company with which progress is being made in the negotiations. Everything revolves around the lawsuits that could be brought if, for example, someone dies from the vaccine. That is what laboratories are covered with. And if it is not about one person but about hundreds or thousands, you start talking about billions of dollars. Argentine law, voted by the ruling party and the opposition, gives compensation to the laboratory for emergency circumstances, but does not cover it in the event that, for example, the vaccine has suffered contamination due to laboratory negligence. That would be the negligence against which the laboratory would have to respond legally, something that Pfizer does not accept.
The Argentine government had proposed to Pfizer a surety insurance to be hired in the United States, but the laboratory argued that sooner or later this would lead to a cumbersome trial to collect the insurance. Pfizer asked then – as it did in Brazil – that the guarantee be state assets. At that point now Agreements are being sought with Vilma Ibarra, Legal and Technical Secretary of the Presidency, at the head of the dialogue. What exists in the United States is a government guarantee fund for all vaccines, including flu vaccines.
In this Tuesday’s zoom, under pressure from the White House, a solution was considered so that the delivery of the vaccines from North American laboratories could be completed. It would be done through one of the mechanisms that the Covax program has. In this case, Argentina will make explicit that it wants the vaccines from those laboratories and, therefore, accepts the responsibilities of that choice. In this framework, an indemnity agreement that the country has with Covax would come into force and the laboratories would accept it. In addition there would be an additional tort agreement. It is a different mechanism than the one that existed when Covax offered Pfizer vaccines to Argentina: in that case, Covax’s will prevailed. Nothing is completely resolved, but steps forward are being taken.
The approval of the Anmat
Regarding the authorizations of the Anmat, the transcended are that the go-ahead for Moderna’s vaccine is imminent and the other two -Janssen and Novamax- would be handled quickly. As you know, Pfizer is approved by the Anmat from the beginning.
In parallel, during the virtual meeting with the White House, Biden officials pledged to swiftly approve the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine, which would allow the release of 60 million doses that are deposited in the United States. and that they cannot be removed from the country because the northern country does not allow the export of unauthorized vaccines.
The issue is of importance for Argentina – even more important than the North American donation – because of those 60 million doses, which are for all of Latin America, it could buy surely four or five million. And they could even be even more.