Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri maintained on Satuday, August 28, that the private sector should be allowed by the national government to procure vaccines on their own.
“I believe the private sector can really help complete our vaccination drives all over the country once we open up and allow them to buy from vaccine manufacturers,” Zubiri said in a message sent to reporters.
“Imagine if all the private companies vaccinate all their employees without expense to the government,” he added.
Zubiri believed it also be ideal to make vaccines available in all pharmacies in the country, although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to issue Certificates of Product Registration that would allow the sale of vaccines to the public.
“That will help us achieve herd immunity faster and ensure we have possible booster shots for our people,” the Senate leader reiterated.
Zubiri earlier called out the national government for supposedly delaying the requests of at least 40 local government units and some 300 private firms for at least 10 million doses of vaccines.
During the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee’s hearing last August 25, the senator raised that authorities might be withholding vaccine deals to claim credit for the vaccination program.
“Para sa ganon pagdating sa halalan, masabi ng gobyerno: ‘Kami ang nagbakuna sa inyo at wala nang iba (So that when elections come, the government could say: ‘We vaccinated you and not anyone else)?” he asked.
But National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 chief implementer and designated vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. denied this, saying vaccine supplies remain “uncertain” and that multi-party agreements (MPAs) were put on hold due to matters concerning vaccine manufacturers.
For instance, he said Moderna and AstraZeneca have temporarily stopped accepting vaccine orders through MPAs.
Meanwhile, during Friday’s hearing, Zubiri also expressed support for the vaccinaton of children, sharing that some of his friends’ children have also been hit by COVID-19.
“So I’ll be very wary about opening face to face classes in the meantime because the kids can get seriously ill now, with this Delta variant. And I hope they can bring in the vaccines, so they can start inoculating children as well,” he said.