Asunción, Sept 8 (EFE). – The government of Paraguay announced Friday that it will refuse to receive Covax vaccines that arrive after the end of the COVID-19 emergency, said the Minister of Public Health and Social Welfare, María Teresa Barán, in a press conference.
The Attorney General, Marco Aurelio Gonzalez, who was also present, explained that the refusal was based on the fact that the Covax initiative had failed. “When we needed it most, we had no response, so obviously the mechanism was a failure,” he remarked.
The officials also explained that the delay in receiving the vaccines caused a great loss of life and cost the country and Paraguayan families dearly.
Covax was a global initiative to ensure fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
Paraguay joined in June 2020, paying nearly $7 million for 4.3 million doses. However, the country only received 1,093,200 doses that arrived late in 2021.
“The mechanism did not send the three million doses that it now intends to send,” González said on Friday.
However, Covax is now offering Paraguay two options: to receive the remaining doses or to pay an exit fee.
“It is unacceptable to receive this amount of vaccines completely out of time. Receiving these vaccines would mean an even greater expense for Paraguay,” said the Health Minister, explaining that it would be impossible to distribute the doses before their expiration date.
Both the Minister and the Attorney General expressed their willingness to negotiate with the Covax mechanism, but stressed that any solution must be fair and respect the rights of Paraguayans.
“This does not mean that we will not exhaust the friendly route. We want to get there, but we believe that Covax cannot impose on Paraguay an unfair deal that is clearly abusive,” the Attorney General added.
In addition, they mentioned the possibility of resorting to international bodies as a dispute resolution mechanism if a satisfactory solution is not reached. EFE