Paraguay's President Mario Abdo Benítez Monday said he was frustrated with the purchase of anticoronavirus vaccines through the World Health Organization's (WHO) Covax program, because “it did not work.” Abdo also thanked the countries which have donated immunizers to Paraguay.
The President made those remarks during an official engagement at the Caazapá Regional Hospital, where he made a disclaimer about what his government went through to get anti-Covid vaccines and blamed the Covax mechanism for the delay.
We are betting on the Covax mechanism to generate equity, Abdo underlined, but he then explained the WHO's mechanism did not favor his country.
Until that happened to us: People said that equity had to mean, not an equitable distribution of vaccines by population size, but an equitable distribution of vaccines by epidemiological situation of each country, he recalled.
Abdo also said Paraguay was a victim of its own numbers because many times Covax did not take the country into account because there were others with worse contagion situations.
Nobody knows the weight of the decisions that have to be made here, the frustration with the mechanism on which one has relied and Covax did not work and I have to say with the pain in my soul, but I cannot keep quiet: Covax did not work.
Despite Paraguay's numerous agreements for the purchaase of vaccines, the country's immunization drive has been depending for the last two weeks largely on donations.
Covax has so far delievered only 304,800 of the 4,279,800 dosed purchased by the Government, it was reported.
In addition to that, the Paraguayan Government is dealing with problems with the indian-made Covaxin vaccines after their country of origin has banned exports in order to supply the local population, while, as it happened in Argentina, the arrival of the second dose of the Sputnik V drug is still in the waiting.
”We did not have the amount we wanted with the Ministry of Health to start the mass vaccination process. Fortunately, [there are] cooperating countries, strategic allies, whom I thank from my heart...”, Abdo went on.
The Expanded Program on Immunizations (EPI) still has a significant remainder of the Pfizer vaccine for the first dose, with records of 100,000 vaccinated per day.
The United States Charge d'Affaires in Paraguay, Joe Salazar, Sunday announced the donation of one million more vaccines for Paraguay in the coming days. With this, the US donations will have reached two million.
Meanwhile, vaccination of people over 20 years of age continues, after teenagers aged 12 to 17 years with underlying diseases, the elderly, pregnant women, patients with comorbidities and priority worker groups have been inoculated.