2021 budget for COVID-19 vaccines over P10 billion short — DOH
MANILA, Philippines —The Department of Health’s (DOH) P2.5-billion allocation for COVID-19 vaccines in the 2021 national budget is over P10 billion short to cover 20% of the country’s population, the agency’s spokesperson said Monday.
In an online press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the agency’s estimate showed the government needs around P12.1 billion to inoculate priority populations which include health workers and indigent Filipinos.
“It totaled to P12.1 billion. So kulang tayo ng mga about P10.5 billion doon sa budget,” Vergeire said.
Vergeire made the statement after Marikina City 2nd District Representative Stella Quimbo raised doubts that the DOH’s P2.5 billion for vaccines will not be enough to cover the 20 million Filipinos that President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly vowed to vaccinate.
But Vergeire noted that some lawmakers have committed to increase funding to get the additional P10.5 billion.
“Members of Congress gave their commitment that when it comes to vaccines, kung magkano ang kailangan, they will be supporting us,” she said.
The DOH recently said the government intends to use loans from Landbank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines to cover the remaining amount needed to inoculate the most-at-risk population next year should a coronavirus vaccine becomes available.
In his latest talk to the nation, the President said the government already has money to buy COVID-19 vaccines once they are developed. However, he noted that it is not enough to cover the entire Filipino population.
Over 100 vaccines are currently under development worldwide. However, not a single vaccine has yet to reach the stage where it is considered safe for mass distribution.
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.