Malacañang said that Filipinos who could afford to get the COVID-19 vaccine may do so themselves despite the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law mandating the government to have all Filipinos vaccinated.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after President Duterte said that the government “does not care” about the people who could afford the vaccine.
In a presser aired via State-run PTV-4, Roque said that the government will not stop Filipinos who want to buy the vaccines themselves once it is available, noting there will probably be private companies that will distribute them locally.
“Siguro nga pag lumabas na yung bakuna, meron pong mga private companies na magpapasok diyan at meron naman tayong mga Pilipinong can afford (I think when the vaccine comes out, there will be private companies who will distribute here and we also have Filipinos who can afford it),” he said.
“Yung mga can afford puwede naman po silang magpabakuna. Hindi naman natin sila pipigilan (Those who can afford can already avail of the vaccine. We will not stop them),” he added.
Roque explained that it is the government’s strategy to give the vaccine for free to recipients of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), frontliners, and the military and the police.
However, he said that the UHC Law states that every Filipino must be vaccinated.
“Ang istratehiya natin talaga yung 4Ps recipients natin, yung mga frontliners, pulis at mga kasundaluhan ang mauuna, at ito po’y garantyado na babayaran ng gobyerno (Our strategy is to have 4Ps recipients, frontliners, and the police and the military to receive the vaccine first and this is guaranteed free by the government),” he said.
“Pero sang-ayon sa Universal Health Care law meron ding mandato na kinakailangan na bigyan natin ng bakuna ang lahat ng Pilipino (But based on the UHC Law, we are mandated to give every Filipino the vaccine),” he added.
President Duterte has recently named Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. as the vaccine czar who will oversee all efforts regarding the acquisition, production, and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines.
The Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has likewise approved the national COVID-19 vaccine roadmap and formed a new cluster to implement the immunization program.
Last month, President Duterte assured the public that he has already found the money to buy COVID-19 vaccines. According to Malacañang, an initial 20 million Filipinos will get the vaccine for free.
Roque had said that the estimated price for a vaccine is US$10 per dose. An individual should have two doses of the vaccine.