Mexico to protest to U.N. over missing COVAX vaccines

Illustration shows vials labelled "VACCINE Coronavirus COVID-19" and a syringe in front of a displayed flag of Finland
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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico will file a complaint to the United Nations over the failure to deliver vaccines against COVID-19 that the government bought under a program backed by the World Health Organization (WHO), President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Monday.

Mexico was owed $75 million, Lopez Obrador said, for COVID-19 vaccines meant to be supplied under COVAX, which was established by WHO during the pandemic to help distribute vaccines equitably across the world.

"We're going to file a complaint because they haven't delivered vaccines from the body created in the U.N.," the president told a regular news conference, saying Mexico had paid for the vaccines upfront about a year ago.

"We've been trying to reach agreement, we've been tolerant since we're dealing with an international body," he added.

Mexico ordered more than 51.5 million doses via COVAX, but according to a U.N. website tracking vaccine deliveries, the country has so far received only 24.6 million doses.

Wealthy nations last year snapped up most initial shots to inoculate their own citizens first, prompting complaints from countries including Mexico about unfair distribution.

Lopez Obrador earlier this year said the missing doses were hampering Mexico's ability to inoculate children against COVID-19. Health experts say that slower roll-outs could allow the coronavirus to mutate again and potentially create new variants.

(Reporting by Dave Graham and Raul Cortes Fernandez, Writing by Sarah Morland;y editing by Grant McCool)