Vice President and opposition Leni Robredo lamented how the Philippines is falling behind in coronavirus disease vaccination among its Asian neighbors.
Robredo took note of Bangladesh, a developing nation, which she said was able to start its nationwide COVID-19 vaccination before the Philippines.
“Nagulat ako, Ka Ely, noong isang araw Bangladesh. Bangladesh nagsimula nang magbakuna. Naunahan pa tayo (I was surprised, Ka Ely, Bangladesh started vaccination ahead of us),” she said over dzXL Sunday, Feb. 14.
“Akala natin noong una, nauunahan lang tayo noong mga mayayamang bansa (I thought before the only rich countries were ahead of us),” she said.
The initial batch of COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX facility was supposed to arrive by mid-February. It would be 117,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which would require subzero temperatures for storage.
Last week, Bangladesh has started the inoculation of its citizens using the AstraZeneca vaccine, aiming to vaccinate 3.5 million people this month.
Quoting vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr., Robredo said the vaccine arrival would be delayed for a week due to documentation.
The goverrnment is still processing some documents with the assistance of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the COVAX facility.
Galvez had previously said the Pfizer vaccine could have been delivered to the country last Friday if only the Philippines had its own indemnification law.
The vice president said having an indeminification law would help to convince the public to join the vaccination program.
“I think we have to do anything that could build people’s trust and assure them they have nothing to be afraid of,” Robredo said.