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Karla Regalado

International Cooperation as an alternative to combat the pandemic in Mexico

- Mexico failed to counteract the effects of the pandemic, so it will be necessary to find another alternative.

International Cooperation as an alternative to combat the pandemic in Mexico

In previous days in Mexico City and in the State of Mexico, a red light was declared again due to the increase in Covid-19 cases. However, as a Christmas gift, on December 23, Mexico received the Pfizer vaccine from Belgium, which managed to place Mexico as one of the first countries to receive it.

So how was it that Mexico, despite its red numbers, has been the first to receive the vaccine? How did Mexico manage to scale up its strategy to counter the pandemic?

To answer these questions, we will first review the situation in Mexico with Covid-19

Mexico and Covid-19

According to a study carried out by the US company, Bloomberg, on the best and worst countries to live in during the pandemic, Mexico ranked last[1].

In this study, 10 parameters were taken into account and divided into two parts:

In the first, the health situation, the total number of deaths per million inhabitants, the percentage of positive tests and access to vaccines were analyzed. On the other hand, in the second, the quality of life, the restriction of confinement, citizen mobility, the prospects for economic growth in 2020, health access and the human development index were assessed.

On this basis, Mexico managed to be among the 5 worst countries to live in during the pandemic with more than 100,000 deaths after India, Brazil and the United States, obtaining a result of 37.6 points as shown in the following table[[2]] (#_ftn2):

Source: Bloomberg quoted in BBC News "The 5 worst countries to experience the pandemic".

Similarly, in the following graphs you can see the movement of the curves that show the increase in infections, as well as in the number of deaths.

Source: Worldometer "Total coronavirus cases in Mexico".

Source: Worldometer "Daily cases in Mexico".

Source: Worldometer "Total deaths from coronavirus in Mexico".

Finally, this has been the epidemiological traffic light in which the country finds itself today, in which most of the states are at an orange traffic light.

Source: Conacyt "Epidemiological Traffic Light in Mexico".

So, with 1,338,426 infections and 119,495 deaths, Mexico is the fourth country in the world in absolute number of deaths and its capital, Mexico City, is on the brink of hospital saturation.[[3]](# _ftn3)

Therefore, as we can see in the curves, the strategy at the national level has not been effective, so it is necessary to take other alternatives to reduce the number of infections and one of them will be International Cooperation.

International Cooperation as an alternative for Mexico

To better understand it, it is necessary to first define what international cooperation is:

"Cooperation as agreement is understood as the realization of political dialogue around specific issues of mutual interest, it aims to generate different forms of collaboration that generate benefits for the parties involved."[4]

International cooperation is part of the scenario of international relations, political, economic, commercial, cultural, etc. At an inter-institutional level, frequently intergovernmental, but it can involve all kinds of institutions.[5]

Similarly, international cooperation for development is the mobilization of financial, technical and human resources to solve specific development problems to promote well-being and strengthen national capacities.[6]

Taking the above into account, on March 26, 2020, the Group of Twenty (G20) held a virtual summit focused on the COVID-19 pandemic. At that meeting, Mexico proposed the intervention of the United Nations Organization (UN) to guarantee that all countries have equal access to medicines and medical equipment, as well as to avoid economic speculation in the purchase and acquisition of these products.

By April 20, this Mexican proposal was supported by 179 countries and adopted as United Nations General Assembly resolution 74/274, entitled "International cooperation to guarantee global access to medicines, vaccines, and medical equipment." to face the COVID-19 crisis” [7]. This resolution paved the way to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Derived from the above, on August 5, the Minister of the United Kingdom and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, Dominic Raab and Marcelo Ebrard, together with the collaboration of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), organized a virtual seminar called " Accelerating access to vaccines against COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean" in which countries of the region, development banks and multilateral organizations such as the Vaccine Alliance (GAVI), the Coalition for Preparedness Innovations for Epidemics (CEPI) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).[8]

The event highlighted the importance of the Access to Tools Accelerator against COVID-19 to guarantee global access to vaccines, treatments and diagnoses, using the aforementioned Resolution 74/274 as a framework.

On the other hand, Mexico also participated in the GAVI (Vaccine Alliance) summit, organized by the United Kingdom, in which they exceeded their fundraising goal, managing to raise $8.8 billion dollars.

“We appreciate Mexico's contributions to the international response, because, like all the countries represented here today, it has faced profound challenges to end this terrible pandemic and jump-start our global recovery. We must make vaccines, treatments and tests accessible to all. This crisis has challenged us like never before, but it has also shown us the profound importance of international collaboration. Only through teamwork can we defeat this virus and rebuild stronger and better than ever.” Declared the UK Foreign Secretary

For his part, Marcelo Ebrard commented that Mexico seeks to bring the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean closer to the leading multilateral institutions in the strategy for the development and distribution of the vaccine against COVID-19 in order to guarantee its equitable access, as well as as he thanked the support of the United Kingdom to open spaces for dialogue to build inclusive responses to global problems.

Also, Mexico has promoted international cooperation to accelerate and guarantee development and equitable access to health technologies to combat COVID-19. For this reason, it participated in the Coronavirus Global Response Summit, during which it committed 300,000.00 euros to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), an organization that concentrates efforts for vaccine development and research. [9].

On the other hand, with resources from AMEXCID, foreign entities and contributions from private foundations, nineteen scientific projects on vaccines and treatments against Covid-19 were supported. These projects were presented by higher education institutions such as the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the National Polytechnic Institute, the Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the IPN (Cinvestav), and the Autonomous University of Querétaro.

The objective of these initiatives related to the development, testing and manufacture of vaccines promoted by the Foreign Ministry were for Mexico to achieve timely and early access to the vaccine. [10]

The vaccine arrives in Mexico

Due to these efforts, as a Christmas gift, Mexico is one of the first countries in Latin America to receive the first batch of vaccines by plane from the German courier company DHL. It was suggested that the vaccination process will begin with the health personnel who are on the front line fighting the disease in the capital and in the state of Coahuila.

Subsequently, the vaccination plan contemplates its application between February 2021 and March 2022 to the rest of the health personnel and to the rest of the population gradually depending on age and chronic diseases.

"Mexico is the first country in Latin America to receive its vaccines and one of the first 10 countries in the world to start a vaccination program," said Martha Delgado, Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights of the Foreign Ministry.[[11\ ]](#_ftn11)

Likewise, this vaccine, developed by Pfizer, needs to be stored at approximately -780 ºC, since it is a synthetic messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccine, with little stability and, therefore, degrades rapidly [12]. However, Pfizer pointed out that the containers where the vaccines are located have the necessary technology to track them and that they reach the health authorities safely.

"Each container contains chips and thermal sensors to have a permanent monitoring of temperature and geolocation in real time to guarantee that it reaches the authorities in the ideal conditions," said Lizete de la Torre, Director of Corporate Affairs of Pfizer Mexico.[ 13]

Source: Deutsche Welle "The vaccine arrives in Mexico".


With this we can conclude that despite the fact that Mexico has not been able to effectively deal with the pandemic, causing it to be in the worst places in the rankings with the number of infections and deaths increasing, international cooperation manages to be the effective alternative to minimize the damage and deal with the situation.

The mobilization that they carried out between governments, international organizations and the private sector to obtain the vaccines was fruitful and thanks to this, Mexico has positioned itself as the first countries to obtain it. Likewise, thanks to effective Mexican diplomacy, Mexico has, in addition to the contract with Pfizer, 3 more contracts for the acquisition of vaccines, such as: AstraZeneca (which will be packaged in Mexican territory), Moderna and Sputnik V.

Therefore, it was not possible to stop the virus inside, but the conviction is reiterated that international cooperation, solidarity and multilateralism are the best ways to deal with the pandemic.


    [1] Mundo, redacción BBC News. Coronavirus: los mejores y peores países donde pasar la pandemia. 26 de noviembre de 2020. (último acceso: 20 de diciembre de 2020).

    [2] Idem

    [3] DW. Llega a México primera carga de vacuna de BioNTech/Pfizer para inicio de campaña este 24 de diciembre. 23 de diciembre de 2020. (último acceso: 24 de diciembre de 2020).

    [4] Martínez, Citlali Ayala. Manual de Cooperación Internacional para el desarrollo: sus sujetos e instrumentos. Ciudad de México: Instituto Mora, s.f. p. 13

    [5] Idem

    [6] Idem

    [7] Fuente, Juan Ramon de la, y Pablo Arrocha Olabuenaga. «Iniciativa de México para garantizar el acceso mundial a medicamentos, vacunas y equipo médico para hacer frente a la crisis de COVID-19.» Ciencia, 2020: 52-57.

    [8] Idem

    [9] Unido, Embajada de México en Reino. México y Reino Unido impulsan la cooperación internacional para el acceso a las vacunas y tratamientos contra el COVID-19. 5 de agosto de 2020. (último acceso: 23 de noviembre de 2020).

    [10] Exteriores, Secretaría de Relaciones. SRE anuncia conformación de consorcio que financiará 19 proyectos mexicanos para el desarrollo de vacunas y tratamientos contra el COVID-19. 24 de agosto de 2020. (último acceso: 23 de diciembre de 2020).


    [12] Opinión. Lo que hay detrás de la vacuna de Pfizer. 13 de noviembre de 2020. (último acceso: 25 de diciembre de 2020).

    [13] Idem

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Regalado, Karla. “La Cooperación Internacional como alternativa para combatir la pandemia en México.” CEMERI, 15 sept. 2022,