Locsin hopes PH can get a share of US COVID-19 vaccine excess

Published April 29, 2021, 11:40 AM

by Roy Mabasa

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. is still hoping that the United States, one of the most vaccinated countries in the world, will be able to spare the Philippines and other countries with its excess coronavirus vaccines.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. (DFA)

Locsin made this comment in the wake of reports that the US will send 60 million doses of vaccines to countries, including India which is currently battling the world’s worst coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak ever.

“So I was assured by US Secretary of State Blinken when US can afford to ease up its vastly successful vaccination program that’s outpaced the rest of the world combined. Over 200 million in less than 150 days proving for all time that democracy works if you are a smart people,” the DFA chief said in a tweet Thursday.

Locsin was all praises on how the US managed to vaccinate more than 200 million of its population in just over 100 days, mostly under the administration of President Joe Biden.

“Look at the US. That’s the freest-wheeling democracy in action; what happens when you combine democracy and brains and a good heart at the pinnacle of power. Period,” he said.

According to the dashboard by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 301,857,885 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been distributed of which 234,639,414 doses have been administered till Wednesday, April 28, 2021.

Except for the China-made Sinovac jabs, deliveries of all other brands have been hampered, including the Sputnik V vaccine from Russia has been delayed due to “technical”

So far, the Philippines received around 3.5 million doses of vaccines, mostly the China-made Sinovac CoronaVac vaccines. The Covax facility contributed a total of 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca that were already used up.

The supposed delivery of 20,000 trial doses of Russia’s Sputnik V early this week was also delayed due to “logistical problems”.

Locsin, through the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C., ordered about 200,000 doses of Moderna vaccines for the inoculation of all DFA personnel, foreign diplomats, and their respective families. But due to the recent halt in the use of the Johnson & Johnson jabs in the US, doubts as to the timely delivery of Moderna on or before its June 15 roll out in the Philippines is now surfacing.

“Should I be telling DFA personnel to line up at the Red Cross? My order of 200,000 doses of Moderna for DFA personnel and families and the entire foreign diplomatic corps including staff. I never know if it is coming or going or gone,” the foreign secretary said in a separate social media post.

He said the Philippines “got the money” and is willing to take AstraZeneca, Moderna, Novovax and Bharat Biotech (both India brands), and Pfizer BioNTech.

“We’ll take it along with the excess AstraZeneca, Moderna, Novovax, Bharat Biotech, Pfizer BioNTech which is the cheapest and one of the strongest and safest. We’ve got the money. On nothing else can taxes be better spent than vaccines. But no commissions please,” he said.