The claim of the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) that they are responsible for the procurement of coronavirus vaccines through the global COVAX mechanism is partly true. Rich countries play a key role in the functioning of this mechanism.
The government, primarily at the state level and in the Federation of BiH (FBiH), is justifiably criticized for failing to buy vaccines directly from a manufacturer. They respond to the criticism by assuring that they managed to buy the vaccines through COVAX and that they provided them through the European Union (EU).
This is also used as an excuse by the Federal Minister of Health, Vjekoslav Mandic, who is a member of the Croatian Democratic Union. He used it in the recent vigorous reaction to inappropriate actions in the procurement of vaccines.
“The FBiH government managed to procure vaccines through the COVAX mechanism and the European Commission mechanism. These are all vaccines that have been paid for and procured. It is normal to criticize the government. You could listen to a representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) approximately on May 5th, who explicitly praised the work of the government, ” told Mandic, who is among those who are most responsible for the inadequate response during the pandemic in this entity.
It is true that the FBiH, as well as the Republika Srpska (RS), set aside money for procurement through COVAX, which did not function shortly after coronavirus vaccines began to be approved. BiH has ordered more than 1.200.000 doses of vaccines through this mechanism, and the Federation itself has paid more than 14 million BAM for this purpose.
However, vaccines through COVAX would not have been insured had most of the money not been paid for by rich states. So, poorer countries like BiH paid only part of the money. This is also clear from what is stated on the European Council’s website.
“In order to help poorer countries around the world, the EU has also contributed to COVAX, a global initiative to ensure equal and fair access to safe and effective vaccines. By December 2020, the contribution of the EU to COVAX has reached 500 million euros. In early 2021, an additional 500 million euros has been allocated, confirming the 1 billion euros donation of the EU to COVAX. With its contribution, the EU seeks to facilitate access to coronavirus vaccine for millions of people, regardless of income, across Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific, as well as and the European eastern and southern neighborhood, ” it was explained in the European Council.
The EU mechanism, which was mentioned by Minister Mandic, is called EU4Health. On the website of the EU Delegation to BiH, it is clear that the mechanism is actually an EU donation, and not a procurement – the purchase of vaccines, Klix.ba writes.