PM Karins proposes putting armed forces in charge of vaccine logistics

  • 2021-03-11
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) proposes putting the armed forces in charge of Covid-19 vaccine logistics. 

Karins voiced concerns at a government meeting on Thursday that in the vaccination process Latvia has been relying on "unknown and not very responsible private services providers".

"Isn't it time to say - enough is enough?  We have our armed forces. We cannot take such risks again, so let's put the state in charge of these processes," Karins said. 

 As reported, lawyers of the Ministry of Health are working on the termination of the agreement with the Covid-19 vaccine deliverer SIA Oribalt Riga, Minister of Health Daniels Pavluts (For Development) told Latvian Television this morning.

Yesterday, Oribalt did not deliver the planned vaccines at certain vaccination points, and according to the information provided by Pavluts, the company was very unresponsive in solving the problems.

Pavluts said that cooperation has just started with this company, which had been selected through a tender, and that problems had already arisen with the delivery of the first batch of 2,600 vaccines.

The Minister emphasized that the Ministry of Health had tried to find a solution to the situation together with Oribalt, but had encountered a great deal of unresponsiveness, so the State Police was involved, which oversaw the company's warehouse at night. In the morning, the company's drivers were asked where they are going, and this will provide information on where the vaccines will be taken.

Asked whether the vaccines would be delivered today at all planned vaccination points, Pavluts admitted that this may not happen today. Today, authorities will monitor whether the company has all the vaccines delivered to it and that they are properly stored.

In such circumstances, ministry lawyers have started work on terminating the contract with Oribalt, "because we will not be able to continue working together with such a company," Pavluts said, emphasizing that cooperation with a company that does not understand the seriousness of the Covid-19 situation is impossible.

Pavluts noted that the delivery of Covid-19 vaccines requires specialized logistics. Already last night, discussions on attracting other service providers were started. The Minister promised that the Ministry of Health would create a solution so that there would be no disruption in the supply of vaccines.

The politician noted that backup solutions will also be needed during the mass vaccination process, because then the work will be even more intensive.

As reported, on Wednesday, several vaccination rooms in Latvia did not receive the expected Covid-19 vaccine, Pavluts said in a Twitter post.

The minister said that deliveries performed by Oribalt Riga failed. The cause of the failure is yet to be established, but the minister promised to find out.

"There is some misunderstanding or mistake (to be clarified) about the vaccine delivery schedule with the Center for Disease Prevention and Control," the minister said on his Twiter account.

The minister apologized for the situation.

LETA also reported, starting from March 8, Oribalt Riga is the company responsible for storage and delivery of AstraZeneca vaccines in Latvia as the previous agreement with Vakcina company expired. The National Health Center organized a new procurement procedure, and the bidder with the lowest price won the tender.