Business magnate Dr Kofi Amoah has called on the government of Ghana to provide the citizens with more information, clarity and education on their purchase of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccines which is currently causing the government some embarrassment.
Dr Amoah’s call comes after it was revealed that the Ghana government used intermediaries to secure over three million Sputnik V vaccines at 19 dollars per unit instead of 10 dollars on the international market.
According to Dr Amoah, the use of intermediaries instead of the government to government route to buying the vaccines leaves a lot of questions begging for answers.
He avers that beyond the cost factor, there is a need to question the integrity of the intermediaries and whether they are licensed to carry out such transactions.
Reaction on social media site, Twitter, Dr Amoah asserted, “WHO has warned that there’re fake vaccines, n that countries must deal directly with vaccine manufacturers or thru Govts Where did the agents who sold Ghana the Sputnik V vaccines get them from n are these agents registered with Russian-Govt licensed manufacturers? Gh Govt pls?”
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health in a press release had admitted dealing with middlemen, saying the US$10 price per dose is the ex-factory price, but the government was unable to buy directly from the Russian government, hence, the use of the private office of one Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Dubai.
Since the ‘scandal’ broke, the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has also justified the government’s procurement of Sputnik-V vaccines using agents and at a much higher price.
Speaking at the launch of the Pest and Vector Control Association of Ghana in Accra, the Minister further explained that the procurement was due to the second wave of COVID-19 which had already claimed many lives.
“I had an obligation to try to see how we can arrive at our herd immunity. When we started looking for vaccines to procure, intermediaries were not part of our agenda. We were looking at what we will get from COVAX. We could not have waited between March and August because we were in the second wave, and we were dying more than when we had the disease in 2020.”
“Basic economics will tell you that in terms of scarcity, the market is the suppliers’ market. He or she dictates the price, not the buyer. I am surprised. We all learned these things at O-level, so why should I be a subject of ridicule?” he asked.