Scandalous delay in the process of vaccines procurement, COVAX has failed us

Scandalous delay in the process of vaccines procurement, COVAX has failed us

SARAJEVO, February 25 (FENA) – The COVAX mechanism has failed in the procurement of vaccines for Bosnia and Herzegovina, most likely because it is possible to sell vaccines on a commercial basis at higher market prices than those agreed for BiH, said the Presidency of BiH today regarding the problem of procurement of vaccines against Covid-19 for BiH citizens.

Although the Presidency has no authority to procure vaccines, the Presidency points out that there is no more time to wait, so this meeting was initiated with representatives of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the two entity governments.

Chairman of the BiH Presidency Milorad Dodik in a statement to the press noted that the claims from COVAX’s letter that Bosnia and Herzegovina does not have the capacity to take over the vaccines were not true.

He said that the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, offered 5,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines for the Federation of BiH and that the participants in today’s meeting agreed to the offer, and that the FBiH Government needs to send a request for delivery, and that the realization will go through the BiH Council of Ministers.

The Presidency also agreed to establish contacts with all known vaccine manufacturers.

Dodik stated that the problem was in the Federation of BiH and that wholesalers did not want to enter the procurement process, unlike in the entity of Republika Srpska, where a wholesaler, Krajina Group, was selected, so another 20,000 doses from Russia will arrive to that entity next weekend, and it will only be the first tranche of a larger delivery.

The RS has ordered 400,000 vaccines from several manufacturers, Dodik said, and explained the withdrawal of wholesalers in the FBiH “with their possible fear to enter the deal because of the ventilators procurement case.”

The RS Prime Minister Radovan Višković told reporters that the RS started procuring vaccines on its own after January 21, after a meeting between the BiH Council of Ministers and two entity prime ministers, when it was said that no wholesaler in the Federation of BiH responded to the public call.

According to Višković, a letter will be sent to COVAX, requesting that it meet the deadline, the first quarter of 2021.

Višković further states that the RS is negotiating with all known producers, including the Chinese ones, and is very close to receiving a delivery from the Chinese side.

The BiH Presidency member Željko Komšić, also a participant in today’s meeting, points out that Bosnia and Herzegovina did not show diplomatic impotence, it was ready to take over the vaccines through the COVAX mechanism, contrary to the claims of that system that there was no such readiness.

Regarding the offer of Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, Komšić replied that the delivery process should go through the state, which will forward the offered vaccines to the Federation of BiH.

THe BiH Presidency member Šefik Džaferović said that the Presidency, although not responsible for the procurement of vaccines, decided to initiate this conversation with representatives of the BiH Council of Ministers and the two entity governments to discuss procurement problems because it is unacceptable that the process has not been going faster by now and the fact that no amount of vaccines has yet arrived in the Federation of BiH.

The participants of the meeting informed the members of the Presidency that the COVAX has proven to be a complete system failure when it comes to BiH.

The agreed price through COVAX for one vaccine for BiH was USD 10.55, and now it is sold for up to USD 50 on a commercial basis, Džaferović said.