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The Process of Procuring Vaccines has started in Bosnia and Herzegovina

As we are still waiting for the delivery by COVAX, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) is following the footsteps of the Republika Srpska (RS) with trying to directly procure vaccines. When it comes to the state level and the BiH Ministry of Civil Affairs, everything has stalled on a letter of intent, as they demand that the entities agree and consent on liability and compensation between BiH and vaccine manufacturers. While the vaccination in the FBiH will most likely not begin soon, it is possible that due to the reckless statements of our officials, the “AstraZeneca” management will sue BiH.

Since there is no possibility of getting vaccines through the COVAX mechanism, the federal level is taking specific steps for the first time. The Institute for Public Health of FBiH sent an invitation to wholesalers in FBiH to express their possibility of procuring vaccines. Several of them responded to this call, but it is unknown which ones.

“The Institute for Public Health of FBiH informed us that they had conducted certain talks with Mr. Tonga from ‘Sinopharm’ and that according to that conversation they are continuing further activities on the possibility of direct procurement of vaccines,” told Goran Cerkez, FBiH Assistant Minister of Health.

Direct procurement, although the only reasonable solution at this moment, has stalled at the letter of intent.

“It turns out that everything is stalled on some letters and signatures that Minister Gudeljevic was supposed to put on the letter which makes BiH responsible for the transport and storage of that vaccine. To me, it sounds unbelievable that everything stopped because of the letter and signature,” Zeljko Komsic, a member of the BiH Presidency, pointed out.

Minister Ankica Gudeljevic still does not want to be publicly exposed and give answers. It is known that in order for the documents to be signed, the Ministry of Civil Affairs of BiH insists on the consent of the entities and the Brcko District. BiH must provide financial guarantees that the storage and distribution requirements of the products from the moment of the takeover will be adequate. The Geneva Vaccine Alliance (GAVI) did not deliver the cover letter on time but waiting for lower-level to give consent only delays the delivery process.

The Ministry has not yet obtained the required approvals from the competent authorities. At this moment, FBiH has a positive opinion when it comes to the demands of the GAVI. Once we have the statements of the competent authorities, the Ministry will act according to its coordinating role.

“Today we submitted the consent regarding the signing of the annex to the contract with GAVI and we will give consent regarding the ‘Pfizer’ vaccines, considering that it was determined at the meeting that certain technical issues that Pfizer had been primarily met and that certain requirements they set are not a problem for RS operationally and logistically. Also, that letter will be sent to the Ministry of Civil Affairs today “, the Minister of Health of RS, Alen Seranic, stressed yesterday.

While we are waiting for coordination, donated vaccines from Serbia are located in the main center in Mostar. From there, they will be distributed evenly towards the cantons, following the vaccination plan for health workers. We will still wait for that to happen since the approval of the Agency for Medicines and Medical Devices is needed for the vaccine to be safe. Precisely because of the statements of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of BiH, Bisera Turkovic, that the ‘AstraZeneca’ vaccines that have arrived are of lower quality, the ‘AstraZeneca’ management is considering a lawsuit.

“In an informal conversation with a representative of ‘AstraZeneca’, he expressed concern about yesterday’s statements from BiH that vaccines are practically made in India for the Third World countries and that they are not identical to those produced in the United Kingdom (U.K.), so it was pointed out that such statements may lead to a lawsuit “, the director of “Verlab”, Almir Badnjevic, said yesterday.

In the last few days, the European Agency for Medicines is carrying out checkups, so the approval of this vaccine is expected in the European Union (EU) as well. Meanwhile, the authorities in BiH have not yet understood that the pace of procurement dictates the pace of vaccination in BiH, BHRT writes.

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