President Duterte recognizes that the government has taken steps to comply with the requirements to secure the vaccine supply and that it was up to the suppliers to make the delivery as promised, according to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.
The President understands the coronavirus vaccine acquisition process and does not blame anyone for the delay in the delivery of the country’s supply, Nograles said.
Si Pangulo (The President) also understands na we are at the receiving end of these vaccines. As much as we want to and as practicable as possible, ginagawa naman natin ang lahat ng kinakailangan natin (we are doing everything that is needed) based on the requirements being asked of us,” he said during a televised press briefing Tuesday, Feb. 23, when asked if the President was holding accountable anyone for the vaccine delay.
“But at the end of the day, it’s really the vaccine manufacturers’ obligation, responsibility to ship it to us at the time that was promised,” he added.
When asked if the President blames the vaccine manufacturers, not the Cabinet members, for the vaccine delay, Nograles said, “Ginagawa natin ang lahat ng dapat at kailangan gawin (We are doing everything that is needed) as far as what is required of us and what is being asked of us in terms of compliance.”
The government has lodged orders for coronavirus vaccines from various suppliers abroad but none of the supply has arrived yet.
Around 117,000 doses of Pfizer vaccines dune the World Health Organization’s COVAX Facility were initially expected to arrive in mid-February.
The delivery, however, has been disrupted after drug manufacturers sought an indemnity deal with the Philippine government as legal protection from any adverse side effects of the vaccines. To meet the condition of the vaccine supplier, President Duterte has certified as urgent the passage of a bill establishing a indemnification fund for persons who may suffer complications after taking the coronavirus vaccines.
The delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccines was also expected to begin late February but this could be delayed due to logistical challenges, Roque recently said.
The government also announced the first batch of Sinovac vaccines donated by China was also expected to arrive on Tuesday, Feb. 23. The vaccine arrival was already “etched in stone,” according to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque. But there has been a slight delay with the delivery of Sinovac vaccines after China wanted to wait for the emergency use approval from local drug regulators before sending the supply.
On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration finally allowed Sinovac vaccines for the emergency use of health persons between 18 and 59 years old. The supplier reportedly needed at least three days to arrange the delivery of the vaccines.
The government has secured 25 million doses of Sinovac vaccines that will be delivered in batches until the end of the year.