Brazilian State of Maranhão obtains 4.5 million doses of Sputnik V vaccine
Negotiations for the purchases of doses began in 2020 / Divulgação

The Governor of the Brazilian State of Maranhão, Flávio Dino, a member of the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB), signed a contract on March 17 with the Sovereign Russian Fund authorizing the acquisition of 4.582 million doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine to combat the coronavirus. This vaccine, produced by the Gamaleya laboratory, has a 91.6% rate of efficacy, according to data published in international scientific reviews.

“The Sputnik vaccine is being used in more than 40 countries. It is certified and authorized by several health agencies around the world. For that reason, we consider it as one more pathway toward enabling us to fulfill our fundamental duty to protect life, public health, the economy, and business. Besides prevention, and besides hospital care, we have this additional guarantee with the help of vaccination,” said Gov. Flávio Dino.

Negotiation for the purchase of doses began last year through the Northeast Consortium, but contracts are signed directly on the state level. In all, there will be 37 million doses acquired by the states and fulfilling the National Immunization Plan (PNI) for the vaccine, under the general coordination of the Ministry of Health.

State of Maranhão Governor Flávio Dino

“Today I signed the contract to purchase Sputnik V vaccines for the State of Maranhão, as part of a shared plan with other states. This will provide us many more doses than we have received up to now. We expect that the supplier will sign the contract today or tomorrow. The government of Maranhão is offering these vaccines to the PNI because that is what the law requires. Or if the Ministry wishes to cover the cost of these purchases, as it did with the Instituto Butantan, we will adhere to that precedent. We don’t seek confusion, we seek collaboration,” said Gov. Flávio Dino.

In case the Ministry of Health is not interested in acquiring these doses purchased by the states, the first lot of Sputnik V should arrive in Maranhão in April, all ready to be administered. The schedule of delivery will go through July, with the capacity of vaccinating more than 2.2 million residents of the state.

Gov. Flávio Dino continued his remarks. “If the Ministry of Health doesn’t want these doses, the government of Maranhão will process the necessary payments to receive them, and they will be made available exclusively to the population of our state. Above all, we will immunize priority groups and certain sectors of the public service, such as, for example, educators, as our young people and children will soon be in live classrooms.”

Payment will go according to the shipment of doses to Maranhão. For shipment of the vaccines,  25% of the value of the lot will be paid. The other 75% will be paid after delivery. By the end of the contract, the government of Maranhão will have invested R$ 253 million (US$45,423,500) of its own resources for vaccination.

“We are prepared to do this because we have an honest, transparent administration ready to take on this burden ourselves. We expect delivery to start in stages beginning in April so that we can offer one more piece of hope to the people of Maranhão in confronting and conquering the coronavirus,” concluded Gov. Flávio Dino.

[According to Wikipedia, “Flávio Dino de Castro e Costa is a Brazilian attorney, politician, and teacher. A former federal judge, Dino was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 2006, serving a four-year term until 2011, representing the state of Maranhão. He was elected as the governor of Maranhão after running in the 2014 election.” Brazilians customarily identify public figures by their first names.]

Brazilian readers did not have to guess at the understated reasons for the state government’s initiative. The national response to the coronavirus under proto-fascist President Jair Bolsonaro can only be compared to the incompetence and malevolence the U.S. saw under Donald Trump. In the case of Maranhão, which elected an open Communist as Governor, the present story indicates how much elections matter!]

Translated by Eric A. Gordon for People’s World. The original publication in Vermelho on March 18 can be viewed here.


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People’s World is a voice for progressive change and socialism in the United States. It provides news and analysis of, by, and for the labor and democratic movements to our readers across the country and around the world. People’s World traces its lineage to the Daily Worker newspaper, founded by communists, socialists, union members, and other activists in Chicago in 1924.