A complete Fiasco with COVAX Vaccines in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI), with which BiH has signed a contract for the procurement of 1.2 million doses of vaccine through the COVAX program, said that the start of vaccine distribution could begin only next month, but that even then not all countries will be included in the shipments. Some will wait for vaccines in the following months.

GAVI points out that its goal is to distribute all ordered vaccines to 92 countries all around the world by the end of 2021, including ours.

When asked whether BiH will receive vaccines against Covid-19 from the manufacturer Pfizer, GAVI told that their goal in the next few weeks is to publish the requests of countries for the quantities of vaccine doses and to plan the division by countries, writes.

Furthermore, they say they hope that in February they will maybe start distributing vaccines, ie the first tranche, to the “most ready countries” (those that have done everything to accept vaccines such as cold chain, storage, refrigeration, and distribution). In the rest of the countries, the first part of the vaccines will not arrive until June this year.

“The goal of COVAX is to start sending vaccine shipments to the most prepared countries, maybe even in February, with the first tranche sufficient to protect 3% of the population of each economy participating in the program, in the first half of the year, followed up on our protection target number of at least 20% of the population by the end of 2021. It is important to note that all of this requires favorable regulatory results and the readiness of health systems and national regulatory systems in the individual participating countries, ” they stated.

According to COVAX availability assumptions, they expect close to 1.8 billion doses to be available for 92 countries that are part of this mechanism, including BiH.

“Our forecast indicates that we should meet the vaccine requirements set by self-funded participants (states) in the second half of 2021,” COVAX notes.

The COVAX mechanism has so far proved to be completely uncertain, which is why many countries around the world have turned to direct procurement. On the other hand, producers, especially Pfizer, are late with deliveries, which could lead to numerous lawsuits in Europe.

Only on Tuesday, BiH made the first direct contacts with Pfizer, and Chinese and Russian producers after the entities and the Brcko District expressed needs, apart from those ordered through the mentioned mechanism.

It is still unknown when 892.000 doses of vaccines will arrive through the mechanism of the European Union.

Zoran Tegeltija, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of BiH, said after a meeting with entity prime ministers Fadil Novalic and Radovan Viskovic in Sarajevo yesterday, that the pandemic is a global issue and thus the procurement of vaccines should be viewed, and that BiH will start direct procurement of vaccines from Russian manufacturers and vaccines coming from China. 

“We have agreed on the purchase of vaccines through Covax, you know the distribution and that we have paid the full amount, but we still do not have vaccines. It is good that the vaccine appeared in the world much earlier than expected, and what is not good is that neither system the vaccine signed by BiH has not yet begun to be distributed, “Tegeltija said. 

“Deadlines are the end of January or the beginning of February. Today, the situation will be much clearer through the help of joint procurement through the EU system. And today, we will have information on when,” he added, Nezavisne writes.

He pointed out that they decided to start purchasing other vaccines directly from Russian manufacturers and the procedure for purchasing the vaccine that comes from China. Tomorrow, the entities and the Brcko District will express their needs, and the Ministry of Civil Affairs will launch an initiative and a direct procurement procedure. We still believe that the covax system will follow the procedures, “Tegeltija said. 

We expect official views of the entities on the need for direct procurement of vaccines. The Prime Minister of the Republika Srpska, Radovan Viskovic, pointed out that the Republika Srpska, through the Compensation Fund, has provided money for the purchase of vaccines against the coronavirus, while it has already applied for the purchase of Russian vaccines sufficient for immunization of 200,000 citizens. 

Viskovic told reporters in Sarajevo that the process of procuring vaccines should be done together with the Federation of BiH, emphasizing that the entity governments have not sat cross-legged so far. 

“Our wish has been expressed for the Russian vaccine, and we are ready to procure it together with the FBiH, if they want to,” said Viskovic, stating that he did not want to speculate on the deadline for the procurement of Russian vaccines, but hoped that it would be very fast. 

He stated that Republika Srpska is going to the option of vaccinating up to 50 percent of its inhabitants, reminding that vaccination is free and on a voluntary basis.

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