Galvez tells LGUs: No need to buy vaccines, PH has sufficient supply

Published October 24, 2021, 1:30 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

The National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 advised local government units even outside Metro Manila not to worry about buying vaccines against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), saying the government has already enough supplies to inoculate its target population.

A medical worker administer a COVID-19 vaccine to a minor at the Las Pinas District Hospital during the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination for minors in Metro Manila on Oct. 22, 2021. (Photo by Ali Vicoy)

Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr., vaccine czar and chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, made the assurance on Saturday night, Oct. 23, in response to House deputy speaker Rufus Rodriguez that the national government has been “sitting” on the vaccine procurement applications of LGUs.

“The country has been receiving an average of 1 million COVID-19 vaccines daily since the start of October. And once we receive them, they are immediately deployed to LGUs and other implementing units throughout the country. There is no time wasted,” Galvez said.

The country has received 94,678,340 vaccine doses since they started arriving in February. Around 10 million of these are stored in warehouses that are ready for distribution while 40 million doses are due for administration.

This October alone, a total of 24,587,050 doses have been transported to the country by various manufacturers that include Pfizer, Moderna, Sinovac, AstraZeneca, and Sputnik V.

Around 6 p.m. Sunday, Sinovac Biotech was also scheduled to deliver three million doses of CoronaVac vaccine — two million doses were bought by the government while one million doses were procured by the government from China.

In total, the national government has purchased 58.7 million doses while LGUs and private sector have bought 7.98 million doses. Global vaccine sharing initiative COVAX facility has also donated 24.3 million doses to the Philippines while 3.64 million doses were shared by friendly nations thru bilateral donations.

“As I have been telling our LGUs over the past several weeks, vaccine supply is no longer a problem for our country. Our main concern at this point is how to get these COVID-19 jabs into the arms of as many Filipinos as quickly as possible,” Galvez said.

In a Congressional hearing on the government’s pandemic response in September, Rodriguez accused the national government of “playing God” as Galvez supposedly inacted on LGUs’ request to buy their own supplies of COVID-19 vaccines through multi-party agreements (MPAs) due to the “slow” rollout in provinces.

But Galvez explained that the national government had decided to put on hold the MPAs it was supposed to sign with LGUs.

“During the Congressional hearings in September, I informed our honorable legislators that the national government could not push through with these MPAs because we had to be prudent when entering into these kinds of transactions,” Galvez said.

“And upon our review of those proposed agreements, we saw that there were questionable deals among them which would primarily benefit third party consolidators, and would put our LGUs in a highly disadvantageous position,” he added.