Pence Assured Mexico It Would Get Access to COVID-19 Vaccine Made By U.S.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has assured Mexico it will get access to coronavirus treatments and vaccines developed by the U.S., according to Mexican media reports.

During his visit to Washington earlier in the month, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador requested U.S. help in combating the disease in border regions.

Pence, head of the White House's coronavirus task force, has worked with Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard. Ebrard had made the case for a coordinated approach to the disease across the region, given the economic integration of the North American countries, including Canada.

"The instruction we received from President López Obrador is to work with the vice president so that we are in sync and have early access at the same time as a region, as North America," Ebrard said on July 10, after the talks.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico and U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House July 8, 2020 in Washington, DC. Mexico will reportedly have access to U.S. COVID-19 treatments. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Following the talks, Mexico's Ministry of Foreign Relations presented the country's Senate a report stating that the U.S. had given assurances it would provide Mexico with vaccines and treatments.

It also said that the U.S. was open to any Mexican collaboration on tackling the disease.

The report said that Pence had "offered all the necessary support from his government to work on the reduction of new border cases due to COVID-19 , and that Mexico access the treatments and vaccines against the disease developed in the United States."

Roberto Velasco, head of North American relations at Mexico's foreign ministry, said that Mexico had taken part in two vaccine trials and wanted to be part of more. Newsweek has contacted the White House for comment.

López Obrador has faced criticism for not introducing stimulus measures to help the most vulnerable people and has also downplayed the pandemic, emphasizing that the economy needed to stay open.

Mexico is one of the worst-hit countries in the world with 5,172 new confirmed coronavirus infections and 301 additional fatalities on Monday. It brings the total cases to 349,396 with a death toll of 39,485 deaths, however the government says the real number of infections is likely to be much higher.

López Obrador's visit to Washington was considered a risky move by some analysts, especially given President Donald Trump's rhetoric on Mexico.

Former Mexican ambassador to the U.S. Arturo Sarakhan tweeted that it was a "big blunder and mistake" because López Obrador would "only be used as an electoral prop by Trump."

However, Velasco said the trip was vital for trade, especially at the start of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada [USMCA] trade agreement that went into effect last week and which Pence said on Monday would help dairy farmers suffering from the fallout of the coronavirus.

"We leveled the playing field for American dairy," Pence said in Wisconsin.

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrate the spread of COVID-19 cases in the U.S.

Spread of COVID-19 cases across the U.S.
The spread of COVID-19 cases across the U.S. STATISTA