Jun 16, 2021 News
– House approves G$619M for additional purchase
Kaieteur News – The Government has purchased 200,000 doses of the Russian-made COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, at a price that is twice the cost approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, admitted to the National Assembly last Monday evening that the vaccines are not being purchased from Russia but from a supplier in the United Arab Emirates
He was at the time responding to queries from Leader of the Opposition, Joseph Harmon, as it relates to the Health Ministry’s expenditure on the vaccines. The response came ahead of the House’s approval of G$619M for the purchase of more COVID-19 vaccines.
The Government had recently spent approximately G$1.3B for the purchase of vaccines; $957M for 200,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccines and $326M on 100,000 doses of the Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccines.
During the session, Harmon referenced a WHO report which stated that the Russian vaccines cost less than half of the price the Guyana Government is paying for them.
In response, the Health Minister explained that Guyana is not getting the vaccines directly from Russia, but rather there was an arrangement in place with the UAE and it was through that arrangement that the vaccines were being purchased.
He admitted that Guyana has spent US$23.50 per dose while the listed world price is US$10 per dose. The Minister explained that this is because the vaccine is not coming directly from the Russia Government but through Sheik Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum a UAE supplier who purchases from Russia.
He noted that the Government actively sought to secure the vaccines through various mechanisms, which has enabled over 44 percent of Guyana’s adult population to receive their first dose of a vaccine. He explained that had the Government depended solely on the donations from COVAX mechanism, only 10 percent of the country’s adult population would have been vaccinated. The Minister added that the procurement of the additional vaccines will boost the Ministry of Health’s immunisation campaign.
The campaign which began in March has seen more than 220,997 persons receiving their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 87,919 persons have been fully vaccinated. Guyana is expected to procure several thousand doses more COVID-19 vaccines after some $619,292,862 was approved by the Committee of Supply in the National Assembly.
Ahead of the approval of the additional G$619M for the purchase of the COVID-19 vaccines, the Minister of Health reiterated that the vaccines are necessary to inoculate the adult population against the deadly disease.
“We are also procuring vaccines through the CARICOM-African Union mechanism and we have allocated G$341 million under this heading to be able to procure those vaccines. We’ve also allocated approximately G$278 million to buy an additional 58,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccines,” Dr. Anthony said. The Minister noted too that some 148,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are being procured through the CARICOM-African Union partnership.
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