Duterte: PH faces vaccine shortage; Poor countries last to get supply

Published April 13, 2021, 10:24 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The Philippines faces a shortage of coronavirus vaccine supply and cannot do anything about it, President Duterte admitted Monday, April 12.


According to the President, there was neither a “magic wand” nor “magic bullet” that can address the country’s predicament given the world’s limited vaccine supply. The Philippines, he conceded, will likely be among the last nations to get the vaccines because it is poor.

“Magkulang tayo sa medisina, nagkulang tayo sa co — sa vaccine. Iyang problema na ‘yan hindi lang atin. Iyang problema na ‘yan hanggang sa buong daigdig ‘yan (We will have shortage in medicines, we have a shortage in vaccines. That problem is not only happening to us. That problem also affects the entire world),” the President said in a televised address Monday, April 12.

Duterte also railed against critics questioning the country’s limited vaccine supply, saying they were “harping on government for something which is not there.” He claimed that he could ask for the Lord’s intervention but the supply situation could not be resolved that quick.

“I can call to the heavens and God to come — God give us the magic wand. The magic bullet, wala ‘yan (that’s nothing). Mayroon pero kulang na (There is supply but it is not enough),” he said.

Duterte explained that rich countries managed to secure their vaccine supply first while poor nations would settle for the remaining stocks. When the pandemic started, he claimed that he cautioned about nations scrambling for the world’s scarce supply of vaccines.

“Tayo mahirap lang so tayo talaga ang last nito (When we started, I already told you that this will be a scramble for supply. We are poor so we will be the last). Ibig sabihin (It means) those who have the money will get it first and those who have — countries who manufactured the vaccine first will have the first supply for their own. Wala tayong magawa niyan (We can’t do anything about it),” he said.

“Kung tatakbo man ito nang ilang taon (If it will occur for some years) it could run until heaven, ito ang ano nila. It could run until heaven’s time, ibig sabihin panahon nang mamatay lahat. Wala talaga tayong magawa (It means the time when everyone dies. We cannot do anything),” he added.

On April 11, the country received its latest batch of 500,000 doses of CoronaVac vaccines from China. The vaccines are part of the 25 million doses secured by the government from China’s Sinovac Biotech.

Authorities earlier said around 1.5 million doses are expected to arrive in the country this month while another 2 million will be delivered next month. An initial 1 million doses of procured Sinovac doses were delivered to Manila last March 29.

The country’s initial vaccine stocks consisted of the 1 million Sinovac doses donated by China and the 525,600 AstraZeneca doses from World Health Organization’s global vaccine access scheme. The vaccines have been administered mostly to health workers in coronavirus-infected Metro Manila and other regions.