The WHO (World Health Organization) has pulled Brazil out of the first distribution of Chinese vaccines. Documents from the agency describing the amounts received by each country indicate that about 60 governments benefited between July and September. But not included in Brazil.
The Kovacs facility – a mechanism developed by the WHO – now distributes the dose from two Chinese companies, Sinovac and Sinoform.
In total, WHO will distribute 100 million doses from each organization. 15 million of them go to a special fund, which is tasked with guaranteeing the delivery of doses to places experiencing humanitarian crises.
10 million doses will go to Indonesia, 2 million to Colombia or 3.1 million to Algeria.
Twelve countries will benefit from the first wave of Chinese vaccines in Latin America, including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay or Venezuela.
Evidence from Brazilian diplomats and the Ministry of Health confirmed that Jair Bolsanaro’s government had chosen to keep 3.9 million doses of Chinese vaccine. But the country was exempt from the first distribution.
When asked about the absence of Brazilians, Kovacs kept the mystery and reiterated the lack of transparency that governs its administration. “Excluding vaccines from Sinovac and Synoform is part of our 6th round allocation,” it said. A country that is not part of the first distribution of Chinese vaccines can be guided by four reasons:
Countries that want to avoid this particular quota round
Countries that do not wish to receive the Sinoform and Sinovac vaccines
More clarifying countries to distribute
Countries that have already achieved higher levels of total population coverage than other participants through previous distributions.
When asked which of these options applies in Brazil, Kovacs declined to comment again.
“Since Brazil is a self-funded participant in Kovacs, questions about its participation in distribution circuits should be sent to the Brazilian government,” he said.
Mystery in Brazil too
The Ministry of Health was also contacted by the report, but did not respond. Sources in the portfolio said that decisions related to Kovacs take place within the boundaries of the PAHO (Pan American Health Organization).
However, the PAHO’s press office said it could not provide a justification for not knowing that any “WHO document” or any “Chinese vaccines” were part of the WHO decision.
The company sent a description of the process of sending vaccines through the COVAX mechanism and since Brazil is one of the federally funded countries, vaccines are procured with evidence from the Brazilian Ministry of Health.
“The allocation of COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX to its participants is guided by the principles outlined in the WHO Fair Assignment Framework, which was agreed with the WHO Member States in September 2020,” PAHO said.
According to the agency, once information is available about the availability of COVAX vaccine levels in the United States, PAHO consults the country on the availability of available vaccines. If so, the delivery process has begun – including logistics and documentation – with the country.
“Once the confirmation date for arrival arrives through the PAHO revolving fund of covax vaccines in Brazil, it will be reported to the press from Sinovac / Koronavak or another manufacturer, as it did from the first export to the country,” he said.