The acquisition of coronavirus vaccines will be a challenging task but the government is determined to explore all means to secure the country’s supply, according Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo.
Panelo has dispelled allegations about the government’s alleged slow procurement of vaccines, citing the early allocation of resources to obtain such supplies. The procurement of vaccines would be a “continuous effort” since it is essential to protect Filipinos from the coronavirus threat, he assured the public.
“To this end, the government is exploring all possible avenues as well as partners, both international and domestic, to obtain the vaccines necessary for our citizens,” Panelo said in an interview with Manila Bulletin.
“Our government cannot, by any means, be characterized as slow in securing vaccine doses. The vaccination of our people has been identified as the end goal from day one, and accordingly, manpower and resources were already allocated for the accomplishment of the task,” he said.
Vaccine procurement however won’t be a walk in the park. Panelo acknowledged there is a growing demand for the COVID-19 vaccines.
“Procurement of a finite supply that is so much in demand will be fraught with challenges,” he said.
“Nevertheless, our government, through the leadership and direction of our vaccine czar, Secretary Charlie Galvez, is focused on his new task and will tirelessly see it through,” he said.
Galvez earlier said the government aims to buy 148 million doses of coronavirus vaccines for an initial 50 to 70 million Filipinos this year. Negotiations are ongoing with vaccine makers like Novovax, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac, and Gamaleya. Galvez said he hopes the supply deals could be finalized this month.