Brasilia: After an investigation into accusations of irregularities against President Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s health minister has confirmed that the country will suspend a USD 324 million contract to buy 20 million doses of Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 Vaccine Covaxin.
During a press conference on Tuesday with Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga, the head of the Federal Comptroller General (CGU) Wagner Rosario, announced that the agency will probe into the process of purchasing the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We suspended the deal as a simple preventive measure, since there are complaints that could not be explained well by the complainant, so we opened a preliminary investigation last week,” said Rosario, as quoted by CNN Brasil. “We have put in a reinforced team for the verification. We hope to be very quick in this process, and we hope that in no more than 10 days we will already have an answer for this analysis.”
Brazil’s Health minister Queiroga also said that his ministry is set to carry out an administrative investigation to verify all aspects of the issue which are being currently raised.
“As soon as we have more concrete data, we will communicate.”
The contract for the acquisition of the Covaxin vaccine was signed in February by Brazil and Bharat Biotech for the import of 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
As per CNN, the Covid vaccine doses were never sent to Brazil, as the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) rejected import requests for the vaccine.
The negotiation between Need Medicines, the Brazilian pharmaceutical company that brokered the deal, and the Bolsonaro government has been under the scanner.
Currently, the contract is being probed by a country’s Senate panel investigating the government’s handling of the pandemic.
Brazilian President Bolsonaro is being accused of overlooking possible corruption in a deal to purchase coronavirus vaccines. Bolsonaro has slammed the senate committee probing the government’s Covid-19 response, saying that it is aimed at undermining his administration.