A Pharmacist and a Fellow with the Centre for Democratic Development Ghana (CDD-Ghana), Dr. Kwame Sarpong Asiedu, believes Ghana has enough grounds to abrogate its contract with the middlemen expected to supply the country with over three million Sputnik-V vaccines from Russia.
“It’s clear that these guys [the middlemen vaccine suppliers] are unable to deliver because it’s only left with the July  deadline. At this point, I think there are enough breaches of that contract for the government to opt out. And I think there are enough grounds for the government to opt out. Even if they deliver in July and the supply comes in August, at the cost they are selling to us, there wouldn’t be value for money. I think the government has to abrogate the contract,” he advised.
The Sputnik-V deal has dominated major conversations in Ghana since last week after it came to the fore that the vaccines were being procured through some middlemen and that Ghana is buying a dose at $19 instead of the $10 ex-factory price.
Some critics of the deal are also angry because several deadlines for the supply of the vaccines have been missed.
The Minority in Parliament has waged a war against the deal, and have vowed to drag the Health Minister before Parliament to answer questions to that effect.
They have also filed a motion in Parliament for a bi-partisan committee to be formed to investigate the deal.
Rely on vaccine supply chain
Sharing his view on the controversial deal on Joy FM’s News File on Saturday, Dr. Asiedu said Ghana’s best bet at securing the vaccines is to rely on the existing supply chain.
“The truth of the matter is that we can only rely on the vaccine supply chain. We cannot do a lot because we are bystanders. Sometimes, people do not want to hear that we are bystanders, but if you are not at the table of men, with their hands in the food, you do not get to eat at the same time with the men who prepared the food. This is the situation we find ourselves in. I don’t think this virus is going away any time soon. There will be clinical trials and other vaccine development,” Mr. Asiedu said.
‘I had an obligation to protect lives’ – Health Minister justifies Sputnik-V deal
The Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has justified the government’s procurement of the Sputnik-V vaccines through the middlemen despite concerns about the cost involved.
Speaking at the launch of the Pest and Vector Control Association of Ghana in Accra, the Minister 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.