Shocking prices of Covid-19 Vaccines
By Shingirai Vambe
The dwindling of resources for covid-19 vaccination awareness campaigns have hindered Zimbabwe’ efforts of achieving the Ministry of Health and Childcare projected 60% herd immunity, in the fight against the virus which has ravaged both human and economic resources around the world.
Zimbabwe Auditor General, Mildred Chiri’s report showed gross of misappropriation of Covid-19 funds, amid the finance minister highlighting that out of the US$100 million dollars he had set aside for the vaccination campaign, US$92 million had gone towards the doses. The Auditor General’s report outlined that the government was ‘exposed to the possible risk of misuse or abuse of public resources.’
Speaking to Post On Sunday, the COVID-19 National Taskforce chairlady Dr. Agnes Mahomva failed to give details pertaining to the price of doses and vaccination processes following a donation of vaccines to farmers by the Seed Company (SeedCo).
Ministry of Finance spokesperson, Clive Mphambela told this publication that Government is the ‘sole procurer of the vaccine and private players can contribute to vaccines procurement through the presidential fund.’
“Vaccine suppliers have a very strict confidentiality clause in their contracts which prohibit the divulging of any information on vaccines including the pricing and cost thereof. This is a competitive issue in the global market place,” Mphambela said.
Efforts to get a comment from the Auditor General’s office were fruitless as her mobile phone went unanswered nd she hasn’t been available for a week now.
During a virtual platform in the Midlands province, Health and Child Care Parliamentary portfolio committee chairperson, Ruth Labode said, “Zimbabwe is still far lagging behind in terms of vaccination and only 10% of the population has been vaccinated.”
According to Labode’s report, if 5 million are the only doses that the country has received, with two doses per person, only 2.5 million people have been vaccinated and more that 14 million people are still to get vaccinated if calculated using the 2012 census population report.
Contacted for comment, former health minister, Dr. Henry Madzorera said, “We have since noticed a queer approach in the selection process of the vaccine. As a nation we need to know the prices of the vaccine so that we hold the government accountable.”
“Sinopharm doesn’t have the backing of local scientists and our suspicion is that there are underhand dealings going on. This tax payer’s money used to purchase the vaccines,” Madzorera added.
Contrary to Madzorera’s submission on the importance of the matter at stake, Dube responded, “I am currently busy in public hearings, I think I have done justice to your issue, further issues consult other members of parliament.”
Meanwhile, the country’s Vice president who doubles up as the Minister of Health, retired general Constantino Chiwenga is heading towards the removal of the Auditor General’s office from the Procurement Oversight Committee. The move to amend this section of the law has been cited as a continued closure of democratic spaces by the Zimbabwean government.
Information minister, Monica Mutsvangwa said, “Cabinet has agreed that the Auditor General be excluded from the membership of the special Procurement Oversight Committee because one of the Attorney General’s functions as stated in section 309 of the constitution is to audit the accounts, financial systems and management of all departments institutions and agencies of government as well as provincial and metropolitan councils and all local authorities.”
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts (PAC), Brian Dube gave Post On Sunday the price of COVID-19 vaccines in Zimbabwe but failed to confirm if there are any other costs incurred for the vaccine to be in Zimbabwe.
The available COVID-19 vaccines costs per dose are; Johnson and Johnson USD $10; Pfizer USD $19.50; Mordena USD $25; Sputnik USD $10; Sinovac USD $29; Novavax USD $16 and Sinopharm USD $32.
Over and above the donated vaccines from China, Zimbabwe has so far paid for 12 million more jabs from the Chinese and noone has ever been able to find out how much vaccines cost.