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Government clears private organizations to import covid 19 vaccines



The Ministry of Health has permitted private organisations to procure Covid-19 vaccines to immunise their staff.
Health minister, Dr Jane Ruth Acengin a televised address to the nation on Tuesday   said only vaccines from reliable sources will be allowed.
Dr Aceng said procured vaccines will go through the National Medical Stores (NMS) which has well established cold chain for proper handling of the vaccines.
“Organisations that may wish to procure vaccines and vaccinate their staff at no cost will be allowed to do so through the National Medical Stores (NMS) and from reliable sources. This is to ensure quality, safety and maintain the cold chain. The Ministry of Health will allocate health workers to carry out the vaccination,” she said.
The vaccines currently approved by the Ministry of Health for emergency use in the country include AstraZeneca, Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer BioNTech, Sinovac,   Sinopharm, Sputnik V, Sputnik Lite, Moderna. Since March 10 when Covid-19 vaccination started in the country, only 1.1 million people have been inoculated against the plan to vaccinate 22 million to safely reopen the economy.
The minister has repeatedly said government is struggling to access vaccines due to high global demand and hoarding of vaccines by developed countries.
“Regarding the purely private sector for sale of vaccines to the general population – this channel is important to increase access to vaccination. However, the risks associated with fake vaccines and exploitation of the population are high,” Dr Aceng said.
She, however, said the vaccine manufacturers are reluctant to supply to the private sector due to the need to indemnify themselves against litigation in the event of side effects.
“Government is critically studying and assessing the private sector companies that have expressed interest on their capacity to handle and dispense vaccines, and the cold chain. Furthermore, Ministry of Health is working with the Medical Council in concluding modalities on the regulation of prices of vaccines and other Covid-19 related services. In due course, the Ministry of Health will inform the public on which private sector institutions may carry out vaccination,” Dr Aceng said.
This reporter couldn’t readily find the list of companies that have expressed interest to procure vaccines.

By Tonny Abet

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