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April 23, 2024
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Brazil To Suspend $324 Mn Covaxin Deal With India Amid Graft Probe

Amid a probe into accusations of irregularities against President Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s health minister has announced that the country will suspend a USD 324 million contract to buy 20 million doses of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, media reported.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday with Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga, the head of the Federal Comptroller General (CGU) Wagner Rosario, said that the agency will investigate the process of purchasing the 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,” he added.

Brazil’s Health minister Queiroga said his ministry is going to carry out an administrative investigation to verify all aspects of the issue that are being raised. “As soon as we have more concrete data, we will communicate.”

The contract for the acquisition of the Covaxin vaccine was signed by the two sides in February for the import of 20 million doses of vaccine by Bharat Biotech.

However, the Brazilian federal prosecutors have opened an investigation into the deal, citing comparatively high prices, quick talks, and pending regulatory approvals as red flags.

According to CNN, the vaccine doses were never sent to Brazil, as the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) denied import requests for the vaccine.

Brazilian President Bolsonaro is being accused of overlooking possible corruption in a deal to purchase Covid19 vaccines. Bolsonaro has slammed the senate committee probing the government’s Covid-19 response, saying that it is aimed at undermining his administration.

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