Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Thursday assured the public that the government is fast tracking the process of acquiring vaccines against COVID-19.
The chairman of the Senate health and demography committee gave the assurance during his visit to Parola, Tondo, Manila where he personally led the distribution of assistance to 361 victims of a fire incident in the area.
He said President Rodrigo Duterte is constantly urging concerned officials to do everything necessary to expedite the vaccine rollout.
“Alam n’yo, halos araw-araw po naming pinag-uusapan ni Pangulong Duterte. Halos araw-araw rin naming kinukulit ang ating mga opisyales, Vaccine Czar natin (si Sec. Galvez), Sec. Duque, at lahat ng mga opisyales na bilisan na po ‘yung proseso ( Almost everyday, President Duterte and me talked about this. We keep on reminding our officials, our Vaccine Czar Secretary Carlito Galvez, Health Secretary Duque and other officials to hasten the process),” Go said.
“Itong FDA natin naninigurado lang din po sila. Gusto nila ng safety data dahil inuuna natin po ‘yung safety at efficacy nitong vaccine… Pero sa totoo lang po, ako po’y nananawagan na bilisan na po lahat (The FDA only wants to be sure. They want the safety data because we are prioritizing the safety and efficacy of this vaccine…still, I am calling on them to expedite everything) ,” he added.
“Nasa gobyerno tayo, kung maaari po 24 hours tayong magtrabaho para po dumating na ‘yung bakuna, maaprubahan na ‘yung bakuna, at siguraduhin po na safe at epektibo itong bakuna dahil iyon lang po ang tanging solusyon. Wala na pong ibang solusyon dito sa problemang ito, sa krisis na ito — tanging bakuna lamang po ang solusyon (We are in the government, if possible, we will work 24 hours in order to hasten the arrival of the vaccine, approve the vaccine, and ensure that it is safe and efective because that is the only solution to this crisis) ,” he further stressed.
Go also said that the Philippines is encountering challenges acquiring sufficient vaccines given limited global supply and with some developed countries getting the biggest chunk of the doses produced so far.
“Mismo si UN (United Nations) Secretary-General si (António) Guterres po mismo ang nagsabi na hindi po equal dahil, unfortunately, medyo mahirap po ang ating bayan, hindi po tayo nakasama doon sa malalaking mga bansa na nabibigyan na po ng mga bakuna. Pero ginagawa naman po ng gobyerno ang lahat para mapabilis (UN (United Nations) Secretary-General (António) Guterres himself said that it is not equal because we are a poor nation, we were not included in the list of rich countries that were already given the vaccines. However, the government is doing everything to secure the vaccine soonest),” Go said.
Go stressed that COVAX has already committed 117,000 Pfizer vaccines and 5.5 million doses from AstraZeneca to the Philippines.
COVAX, or the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, is a global initiative led by the World Health Organization, among other institutions, to ensure equitable access to vaccines, especially for poor and developing countries.