‘We did our best to bring in western vaccines first’ — Roque

Published February 24, 2021, 4:01 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang said that the government did its best to try to bring into the country first the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines manufactured by western pharmaceutical companies but in the end, it was China that delivered the fastest.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after it was announced that the 600,000 doses of CoronaVac vaccines donated by the Chinese government are set to arrive in the Philippines within the week.

In his Wednesday presser, Roque said that the public knows how hard the government tried just to give them what they want in terms of the vaccine brand.

“Ginawa natin lahat para paratingin muna ang Pfizer at AstraZeneca. Alam naman natin na maraming mas may gusto ng mga made in the West (We did everything we can just so we can have Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines first. We know that a lot of us want the vaccines that are made in the West),” he said.

“Pero nakita niyo po talaga, nag-aagawan po ang buong daigdig sa natitirang 20 percent (supply) nitong mga western vaccines kasi ang 80 percent nabili na po ng mga mayayamang bansa (You are aware that many countries are fighting over the remaining 20 percent of these western vaccines because 80 percent were already purchased by rich countries),” he added.

According to Roque, President Duterte was fine with starting the vaccination program with the Sinovac vaccines instead of having nothing at all.

“Ang ayaw ni Presidente eh hindi matuloy ang bakuna dahil ang gusto natin ay western (What the President does not want to happen is we postpone the vaccination program because we want the western vaccines),” he said.

“Kaya nga po ganoon na lang ang tinatanaw niyang utang na loob sa mga Tsino dahil kahit papaano, sa panahon ng ating pangangailangan, nagdedeliver o magdedeliver po sila ng bakuna (That’s why he is very grateful to the Chinese because, in times of need, they will deliver the vaccine to us) when we need it,” he added.

Roque said last week that after delays due to the absence of the required indemnity agreement, the COVAX Facility will start delivering the AstraZeneca coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines late this month.

The Philippines is set to receive a total of 5,500,800 to 9,290,400 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines through the COVAX Facility within the first half of the year. Meanwhile, there is no update yet on when the Philippines will receive the 117,000 doses of Pfizer vaccines.