The management of Minister Marcelo Queiroga (Health) hired a company that had no experience in transporting vaccines in the public service to carry out the storage and logistics of immunizations against Covid-19 for children.
The first deliveries of Pfizer’s pediatric vaccines were marred by problems in several regions of the country during the weekend, when the immunization of children began. The audience is from 5 to 11 years old.
The contracts with IBL (Intermodal Brasil Logística), in the amount of R$ 62.2 million, were signed in December with no bidding process.
States such as Santa Catarina, Pernambuco, Paraná and Paraíba reported problems in vaccine deliveries. Some complained that doses arrived late or in inadequate storage and transport conditions.
In João Pessoa, for example, the company was not present this Saturday (15th) at the local airport to receive the doses, pack them and take them to the place indicated by the state government.
The contracts signed with IBL have a duration of 12 months, with permission to extend for up to five years, despite the urgent nature of the bidding waiver.
The company was chosen by the Ministry of Health to distribute pediatric immunizers to the states. The contract was made even though there was already a contract in progress, time for a new bidding process and the interests of logistics companies in the dispute.
In addition, the ministry granted a period of 60 days for the company to make necessary adjustments to deliver the service. IBL stated that it did not use the deadline.
The company reported to leaf, in a note, a single experience in transporting vaccines, to a private laboratory, according to her. “Due to compliance requirements, we declined to nominate such a company.”
The deliveries would have taken place between 2015 and 2018, according to the company. IBL claimed to have delivered 100% of the cargo for the first demand of the government contract on time and at the required temperature.
The ministry in turn stated, also in a note, that there was no harm to any pediatric vaccine delivered to the states and the Federal District. The folder will investigate any failures, as per the note.
In the pandemic, IBL provided a single service to the federal government before vaccine contracts, according to the Union’s Covid-19 Purchasing Panel: collection, separation and delivery of 100 thousand masks to EBSERH (Empresa Brasileira de Serviços Hospitalares), the government agency that takes care of federal university hospitals. The value of this contract was R$ 16 thousand.
IBL’s specialization, taking into account the contracts with the federal government, is the storage of goods seized by the Federal Revenue Service at customs posts.
For services like the Revenue, the company has already received BRL 23.1 million from the Union, of which BRL 17.9 million (77.5%) was paid in the Jair Bolsonaro (PL) government.
The logistics company also signed a contract with Inca (National Cancer Institute) in 2020, in the amount of R$ 2.3 million, for the storage and transport of “products, teaching and technical materials”.
The TCU (Union Court of Auditors) opened a process to investigate alleged irregularities in the contracting of IBL without bidding for the transport of vaccines. In December, the court demanded explanations from the DLOG (Department of Health Logistics) of the Ministry of Health.
State Health Departments also expressed concern about the new contract for the distribution of pediatric vaccines due to the need for special storage and transport conditions, at special temperatures.
Pfizer vaccines started to be delivered in the last two days. Local governments felt the difference in the change of company and registered a series of failures, such as the conditions of the packaging and even the lack of teams from the company hired to receive the immunizers.
Despite the problems in Santa Catarina, Pernambuco, Paraná and Paraíba, there are no records of lost vaccines, for now, but state managers are concerned because new shipments of doses are scheduled for this week.
In João Pessoa, the company was not present at the local airport to receive the doses, pack them and take them to the location indicated by the state government.
The State Secretary of Health, Geraldo Antônio de Medeiros, stated that a major impasse was created, as the airline was not authorized to release the doses to agents other than the IBL Logística team.
“At the time the vaccines arrived, the company was not at the airport to be able to quickly transport them to the State Health Department’s network. We made our vehicles available, but the airline did not deliver”, said the secretary to the leaf.
“We took the company’s phone [de logística], but they said there was no prediction. So it was necessary to adopt pressure and say responsibility for packaging vaccines, otherwise you could lose these vaccines. That’s where they arrived,” he said.
According to the secretary, the problems were repeated in other states. “In almost every state there was [problemas]. There was this hiring of a new firm, an amateur firm, without expertise in transporting vaccines, so in almost all of Brazil there was this problem with vaccines”, said Medeiros.
In Santa Catarina, there were complaints about the conditions in which the vaccines were delivered and also about errors in flight schedules.
The Paraná Health Department reported that it did not detect inadequacy of the vaccines delivered to the state, but that there was a delay in the flight, initially scheduled to arrive in the morning and land in the afternoon.
This Saturday, the newspaper O Globo showed that there were failures in the distribution of vaccines after the hiring of IBL.
When questioning the TCU, the holder of the DLOG, General Ridauto Lúcio Fernandes, told the court on the 21st of last month that IBL would be the contracted company. On the same day, he confirmed the waiver of bidding. The act was published in the DOU (Diário Oficial da União) the following day.
Contracts were also signed on the 22nd, one worth R$28.1 million for the storage of Pfizer’s vaccine, and another worth R$34.1 million for transport, keeping the immunizer at – 90°C to -60°C.
General Ridauto signed the contracts by the Ministry of Health. The extracts were published in the DOU on the 30th, the penultimate day of the year.
At that time, Queiroga and Bolsonaro acted to postpone the vaccination of children, despite the authorization of Anvisa (National Health Surveillance Agency) given on December 16.
The legal basis for the waiver of bidding was the law of March 2021, which provides for exceptional measures for the purchase of vaccines, supplies and logistics services in the pandemic, while the public health emergency declaration lasts.
In the case of contracts with IBL, one of the problems pointed out by health technicians and sector representatives is that the ministry attributed main importance to the possibility of lower value during the selection process, leaving technical issues in the background.
Companies with expertise presented offers that proved to be uncompetitive in terms of value.
The other vaccines against Covid-19 continue to be delivered by the company VTCLog. The company became the target of the Covid CPI in the Senate on suspicion of corruption. About 170 million doses have already been delivered to states by the company.
The CPI’s final report proposed the indictment of VTCLog itself and some of its directors. The company continues to distribute the other vaccines contracted by the federal government.
The Ministry of Health said that there was no damage to the vaccines distributed and that the doses were sent in record time.
The ministry stated that the hiring of IBL took place through a selection process, with the participation of several consolidated companies in the sector, including VTCLog.
IBL stated that the vaccine distribution and packaging services are taking place with high safety standards, which were required in the public call with waiver of bidding.
“We are maintaining, during operations, a considerable contingent of professionals of the highest caliber, ready to ensure that any demands are met. All steps under our responsibility were carried out with excellence, without any damage or risk to the quality of vaccines” , he said.
According to the company, the integrity of the vaccines was not compromised by loss of temperature.
“IBL works with state-of-the-art equipment to ensure compliance with the requirements. The company has records of all shipments operated so far, without any mishap,” he said in a statement.