Mexico eyes delivery of Russian Sputnik V vaccine next week

FILE PHOTO: A medic of a regional hospital receives Russia's 'Sputnik-V' vaccine
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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico is very close to signing a contract for Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine and the first shipment of around 200,000 doses could arrive next week, a Mexican official said on Tuesday.

Juan Ferrer Aguilar, a senior health official, was speaking at a regular government news conference a day after President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador telephoned his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, and announced Russia would supply Mexico with 24 million doses over the next two months.

Ferrer said the finishing touches were being put on the contract for the deal, and that it could be signed on Tuesday.

Mexico is trying to secure as much vaccine supply as possible amid delays of some products and has said it plans to administer 7.4 million doses of Sputnik V through March.

Mexican health regulators have not authorized the use of Sputnik V.

However, Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said in a late Tuesday news conference that approval for the vaccine's emergency use was expected within days, pending some final details, after a favorable recommendation by a committee within Mexico's health regulator.

"The crucial part has already been favorably resolved," Lopez-Gatell said.

The exact date of the first shipment of the vaccine has not been confirmed, he said.

Lopez Obrador announced on Sunday he was infected with the coronavirus. He has kept up his strength and is recovering well, Interior Minister Olga Sanchez said on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Raul Cortes; Writing by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Nick Macfie and Christian Schmollinger)

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