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Harmon seeks ‘Sputnik’ answers from Frank through Parliament

Harmon seeks 'Sputnik' answers from Frank through Parliament

Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony, Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon, Speaker of the National Assembly Manzoor Nadir 

As the debate over the origin and acquisition of Guyana’s Sputnik V Vaccines continues, Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon on Friday submitted a list of questions to Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony in a move that he says will promote transparency.

 

The Opposition Leader alluded to statements made by Dr. Anthony in the National Assembly on Monday, June 14, 2021, that the Sputnik-V Vaccines procured for Guyana to fight COVID  19 were not procured directly from the Government of Russia, but through a middleman who was identified to be Sheik Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum of the ruling party of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

 

Mr. Harmon requested the following:

 

  1. The quantities and batch numbers of the vaccines purchased from Sheik Al Maktoum and/or Umar Zahoor and their partners;

 

  1. Shipping information including trans-shipment information and the conditions under which vaccines were stored for shipment;

 

  1. The procurement process utilized including the due diligence done on the supplier.

 

The politician who was immunized with the said Sputnik V Vaccine said “it is important that Guyanese be assured that their health and safety are not being jeopardized and to this end, transparency and public disclosure of the details surrounding the procurement of the Sputnik-V vaccine are important.”

 

There is an ongoing public debate over the acquisition of the vaccines as the Opposition calls for explanations from the Government for purchasing the vaccines at double its original costs from “a middleman.”

Guyana has acquired some 400,000 doses of Sputnik V through a sole source arrangement with the Sheik.

During his press conference earlier this week, Dr. Anthony described the arrangement as an “authentic process” as he said the government had spoken to a number of “options” including China, Russia, and the European Union.

“It is safe” Dr. Anthony maintained as he said the vaccines were given authorization by the local Food and Drug Administration.

The Government Analyst- Food and Drug Department (G-FDD) in a statement on Thursday evening noted that it has assessed all vaccines using WHO guidelines and were reliant on Emergency use Authorization (EVA) issued by several serious reference authorities, inclusive of the United States Food and Drugs Administration (USFDA), the United Kingdom Medicine and Health Products Regulatory Agency MHRA, the WHO Emergency Use Listing.

In addition, the Department said it relied on the Caribbean Public Health Agency’s (CARPHA-CRS) reference countries such as Brazil and Argentina for the approval of vaccines that were not approved by the other reference authorities.