The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has announced that the controversial contract for the supply of Sputnik V vaccines through middlemen has been cancelled by government.
Appearing before a nine-member bi-partisan Parliamentary Probe Committee,;the minister said that the middleman Sheik Al Makhtoum and SL Global informed the government on July 14, 2021 that due to global shortage of vaccines it is unable to honor the contractual agreement.
Explaining what ensued with regards to the contract,;he said the intermediary had told government that the first 300,000 doses would be supplied within two weeks,;but failed to deliver the vaccines.
“They came back to [tell] us that they have run out of stock and that they are waiting on the manufacturer to supply them, and they will supply us in two weeks.
“After two weeks, we enquired and they said still they haven’t received it. So, we started engaging them that if that is the matter, they should permit us to withdraw from the contract so that we can do something different and buy vaccines for ourselves because our faith in them to supply [the vaccines] was waning. So, we continuously put pressure on them and they gave us [until] July. They later gave us verbal notice that they will not be able to supply any longer,;and so we requested that they terminate the agreement, which they have actually done. So, as we sit here, there is no contract between the two of us.”Kwaku Agyeman-Manu
Vaccine prices, not a rip off
Touching on the price at which the vaccine was being procured, the Ministry of Health has stated that attempts by government to secure Sputnik V vaccines at a unit cost of US$19 is not a rip off as being suggested in some quarters. Parliament has however approved a motion by the minority to investigate the procurement contract regardless of the explanation.
1.6 billion AstraZeneca vaccines to be received 2021-2022
Meanwhile,; the AstraZeneca Africa Director, Barbara Nel,;has disclosed that a total of 1.6 billion fully funded;COVID-19 vaccines would be made available for COVAX dependent countries later this year through to 2022.
She mentioned that countries that have successfully vaccinated;the vast majority of their populace and still have excess vaccines are donating them for countries that are struggling to effectively vaccinate their people.
The AstraZeneca Africa Director explained that;the challenge with AstraZeneca’s distribution of adequate vaccines to African countries was as a result of;the deadly second wave that hit India, and subsequently led to a ban in the exportation of AstraZeneca vaccines by the Serum Institute of India, which is one of the world’s leading COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer.
Barbara Nel, who did not give a definite time frame for the distribution of the said 1.6 billion doses,;however,;explained that her company,;AstraZeneca,;is working closely with COVAX and various governments to ensure the vaccines are rolled out later this year and by 2022.
She also added that, as and when the COVID-19 situation in India improves,;Africa and other COVAX countries will see the vaccines flowing in the right quantities.