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Russian fund referred Guyana to United Arab Emirates Sheikh for Sputnik jabs

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 June 2021, 22:23 by Denis Chabrol

Amid persistent claims that the Sputnik V vaccines might be fake and that Guyanese should not take jabs from the batch of 200,000, Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony on Thursday said Guyana was referred to a representatives in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by a Russian authority.

He said the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) pointed Guyana in the direction of Sheik Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum. “When we had the discussion with the Russian Direct Investment, they said to us that they have suppliers that they would normally work with and one the suppliers we understood to be the Sheikh and, therefore, since he had authentic access to vaccines produced by Gamaleya, when we engaged them, they said they can supply Guyana with vaccines and therefore we negotiated and we have vaccines through this particular supplier,” Dr. Anthony.

The Health  Minister said Guyana’s Food and Drugs Department granted reciprocal Emergency Use Authorisation of the Sputnik V vaccine based on approval by Russia itself, Brazil and other nations as well as reports in the globally recognised British medical journal, Lancet.

Dr. Anthony said Sheikh Maktoum reportedly has a good track record in dealing in pharmaceutical products, he said that company does in fact have experience and has been delivering based on a contract with the Ministry of Health.

Opposition Leader Harmon’s concerns about the countries of origin and transit were also addressed by the Health Minister who stated that the Sputnik V jabs departed the manufacturer,  Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, in Russia, to the UAE and transited Miami, Florida before arriving in Guyana. “Many of the movements from Miami to Georgetown is by jet that is normally hired to bring these vaccines in and in a lot cases that was the sole cargo that came in,” he said.

The Opposition Leader’s call for details such as batch numbers have already been addressed by the Health Minister who sought to convince Guyanese that all those details have been provided to the Health Ministry.

Mr. Harmon has insisted that jabs from the batch of 200,000 does should be suspended until they are confirmed as authentic.

The issue of why the cheaper Chinese made Sinopharm should not have been purchased instead, was raised by Mr. Harmon, but the Health Minister said Sputnik was chosen because it has an efficacy of as much as 97 percent.