Mayor Isko questions delay in delivery of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines

Published April 7, 2021, 9:53 AM

by Minka Klaudia Tiangco

Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso is questioning the delay in the arrival of supplies of the COVID-19 vaccine made by American biopharmaceutical company Pfizer.

Manila City Mayor Francisco Isko Moreno Domagoso (Manila Public Information Office photo / MANILA BULLETIN)
Manila City Mayor Francisco Isko Moreno Domagoso (Manila Public Information Office photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

Domagoso pointed out that Pfizer was one of the first companies to coordinate with Philippine government officials on the delivery of vaccine supplies but it has yet to follow through on its offer.

In November, 2020, the Manila mayor met with Pfizer officials to reaffirm his readiness to buy up to P250-million worth of COVID-19 vaccines.

“Bakit ang Pfizer, hindi nagpapadala sa Pilipinas? ‘Yun ang [tanong] ko sa Pfizer (Why is Pfizer not delivering supplies to the Philippines? That is my question to Pfizer), what’s wrong with you?” he said in an interview over PamilyaTalk on Monday (April 5).

“What’s happening with you, Pfizer? Hindi niyo na ba mahal ang Pilipinas? Hindi na ba mahalaga ang mga buhay namin tulad ng pagbibigay niyo ng pagpapahalaga sa buhay ng Amerikano, Singaporean, at iba pang bansa (Do you not love the Philippines anymore? Are our lives not as important as those of Americans, Singaporeans, and people from other countries)?” he added.

The Manila city government, instead, entered into a partnership with British-Swedish bio-pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for vaccine supplies that may arrive in September, 2021 at the latest.

The Philippine government has yet to secure a vaccine supply deal with Pfizer.

In 2020, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Senator Panfilo Lacson accused Health Secretary Francisco Duque III of “dropping the ball” in an offer that could have secured the Philippines up to 10 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine as early as January, 2021.

Lacson claimed that Duque failed to immediately sign the Confidentiality Disclosure Agreement even as Pfizer’s country representative followed up on it.

Because of this, the country’s next chance to receive COVID-19 vaccine supplies from Pfizer may be in the third quarter of 2021.

Duque has denied the allegations, saying that Pfizer did not commit to provide 10 million vaccine doses but only vaccine development data to jumpstart talks on supply and shipment.