- This requisitioning aims to meet the most pressing needs to start the national vaccination plan.
- The Health Ministry sought to buy 331 million syringes at last week's electronic auction but purchased just 8 million.
BRASILIA: Brazil's government will requisition surplus stocks from the country's syringe and needle manufacturers as it prepares to start a national vaccination campaign against COVID-19 without having secured supplies.
The Health Ministry announced the measure late on Monday and said it was still planning to hold another bidding session to buy the syringes from Brazilian producers.
"This requisitioning aims to meet the most pressing needs to start the national vaccination plan," the ministry said in a statement, adding that it awaited data on available stocks from the manufacturers.
Brazil, whose President Jair Bolsonaro has downplayed the gravity of coronavirus, has the second deadliest outbreak after the United States but is lagging neighbors Chile and Argentina in rolling out a vaccine.
It also runs the risk of not having enough syringes to distribute vaccines after an initial bidding session last week failed to draw bids for enough syringes and needles.
The Health Ministry sought to buy 331 million syringes at last week's electronic auction but purchased just 8 million, or 2.5% of its target, after it set reference prices below companies' bids.
Brazil's medical supplies and equipment industry lobby group ABIMO warned the coronavirus vaccination program was at risk if the government did not set "realistic" prices and could be forced to make costly imports.
ABIMO did not immediately comment on the government's move to requisition surplus supplies of syringes and needles.
The lobby said Brazil has three main manufacturers with ample capacity to produce the needed syringes and needles.