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‘PRIVATE SECTOR ROLE IN CORONAVIRUS VACCINE ACQUISITION STILL IN LIMBO’

By NATION REPORTER

INSPITE signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Zambia Private Sector Alliance, Government is yet to finalise modalities for private sector participation in the vaccine acquisition.

Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary for Technical Services, Kennedy Malama explained that the ministry developed guidelines for private sector involvement in the Covid-19 vaccination programme intended to ensure private sector contribution to the Covid-19 vaccination programme was done in a manner that safeguards the integrity of the campaign.

However, the programme is not yet finalised as modalities are still being put in place. Dr Malama was apparently commenting on the subsequent destruction of 10, 000 doses of the Hayat Vax SARS-COV-2 Vaccine imported by Chrismar Earth moving proprietor Valden Findlay.

A Ministry of Health official confirmed that Mr Findlay had earlier in the year approached the ministry seeking an opportunity to participate but that nothing conclusive had been agreed. The Hayat Vax SARS-COV-2 is a vaccine produced by the combination of Sinopharm and CNBG and the United Arab Emirates was using it widely.

The vaccines are approved in the UAE, Philippines and Vietnam because of their ease of storage, but not authorised for use in Zambia. Dr Malama said yesterday only vaccines authorised by the State whose quality, safety and effectiveness were guaranteed are being brought into the country and administered to the public.

The Zambia Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA) intercepted Hayat Vax SARS-COV-2 Vaccine imported at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport. Mr Findlay explained that the destroyed doses were a donation from the people of the UAE who had certified them as okay for use by people in various countries.

He said in an interview that the vaccines were not fake and that they were actually produced in the UAE where it was being used while batches had been donated to Vietnam and the Philippines. Meanwhile, New Hope MMD president Nevers Mumba said it was erroneous for ZAMRA to destroy the vaccines without carrying out necessary tests and consulting with relevant international bodies. Dr Mumba said in an interview that there was need for authorities to carry out a thorough investigation on the production instead of rushing to destroy them.

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