The director of logistics at the Ministry of Health of Brazil, Roberto Ferreira Dias, was fired from office this Wednesday amid growing allegations of alleged irregularities committed in the purchase of vaccines against covid-19.

The decision, signed by the Minister of the Presidency of the Republic, Luiz Eduardo Ramos, and anticipated by the Ministry of Health, was published in the Official Gazette of the Union (DOU), although the reasons for the resignation have not been disclosed.

The employee’s dismissal comes just days after the director was involved in allegations of irregularities and corruption in the purchase of vaccines against covid-19, which came to light during statements by the Senate’s parliamentary committee of inquiry (CPI) that investigates possible omissions by the Government of the Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro, in the pandemic.

Dias was accused of pressuring Ministry of Health officials to speed up the import of the Indian vaccine Covaxin, made by the company Bharat Biotech, despite signs of possible irregularities in the contract, which provides for the acquisition of 20 million doses at a total price of 1 .61 billion reais (about 270 million euros) on February 25th, but the deadlines for delivery of the product were not met and, only on the 4th, the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa), the regulatory body, approved its import with restrictions.

In addition, on Tuesday, the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper guaranteed that the employee would have asked for a bribe to a representative of Davati Medical Supply in exchange for approving the purchase of millions of doses of the vaccine developed by the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga announced on Tuesday that the contract signed for the purchase of the Covaxin vaccine will be suspended until allegations of irregularities in these negotiations are clarified.

There will also be time for Anvisa to pronounce on the effectiveness of Covaxin, something that this body has not done yet and which is decisive for allowing imports.

“It is not appropriate to import these vaccines at this time,” Queiroga declared at a press conference.

Brazil is one of the countries most affected by the covid-19 pandemic and, so far, has accumulated more than 515,000 deaths and 18.5 million infected.


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