Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon has called for the immediate suspension of the administration of the Sputnik COVID-19 vaccines until the government provides key information on the procurement of the vaccine.
During a press conference on Thursday, Mr. Harmon said because the vaccine did not come directly from the supplier but through a “middleman”, he has questions about its authenticity and he would like those questions answered.
“Guyanese were given the assurance by this government that like with other vaccines which were made available to Guyana that the Sputnik V vaccine has been authorized, what we of course discovered was that that authorization was a local authorization from the food and drug department which is a department under the said Ministry of Health. So that is the authorization we have based on these vaccines which were ordered from a middleman from the United Arab Emirates that was produced ostensibly in Russia and that we are now vaccinating our population with. The PPP has placed the lives of thousands of Guyanese at risk,” the Opposition Leader said.
Mr. Harmon said given the global concerns about counterfeit vaccines and the fact that Guyana is receiving the Sputnik doses from a middleman, the matter is now a safety matter for the people of Guyana.
“We demand that the Ministry of Health provides us with the batch number purchase from Sheik Al Maktoum, the details of the shipping including the transshipment and the conditions under which the vaccines were stored,” the Opposition Leader demanded.
He suggested that the vaccine should be put on hold until the population is given the assurance that the vaccines are not bogus.
“I know that there are concerns internationally about the Sputnik vaccine and I am not challenging the efficacy of the vaccine, but my concern is about that we get the real thing here in Guyana. Because there is a report in the Reuters on the 16th March 2021, and it speaks about fake batch of Sputnik V vaccine seized in Mexico,” The Opposition Leader said.
Authorities in Mexico back in March seized almost 6000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine that was en route by private plane to Honduras.
The bottles, whose labels featured spelling errors in Russian, were hidden among soft drink cans in an icebox, images shared by the government showed.
The Ministry of Health has already dispelled suggestions that the vaccines being bought for Guyana are fake.