Palace says Duterte already named ‘vaccine czar’ but won’t tell who
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has already designated a “vaccine czar” two months ago, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Monday amid a call from a senator for the government to appoint one.
However, the designated “vaccine czar” supposedly requested to have his identity concealed until the President “reiterates” his designation, Roque said during a press briefing.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto earlier urged Malacañang to designate a “vaccine czar” to prepare for the storage and distribution of vaccines against the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“The suggestion is very well-taken,” Roque said.
“In fact, two months ago, I recall na si Presidente ay may itinalagang vaccine czar. Kaya nga lang po, iyong natalagang vaccine czar is hesitant when I asked him if I could remind the public that he has been designated as vaccine czar kasi baka hindi na raw po naalala ni Presidente. So he would like to wait for the President to make the announcement anew,” he added.
(In fact, two months ago, I recall that the President designated a vaccine czar. However, the appointed vaccine czar was hesitant when I asked him if I could remind the public that he has been designated as vaccine czar because he was thinking that maybe the President doesn’t remember appointing him. So he would like to wait for the President to make the announcement anew.)
Roque further said that the concept of a “vaccine czar” who would focus on importation and logistics has already been discussed.
The Palace previously revealed that it is readying logistics for the procurement and storage of the COVID-19 vaccine, which should be kept in an area with a temperature of around -90 degrees Celsius.
Philippine Foundation for Vaccination executive director Dr. Lulu Bravo, meanwhile, called for the creation of a national immunization technical advisory committee.
She said this committee can be composed of multi-disciplinary scientists and doctors.
“Mayroon diyang epidemiologist, mayroon diyang pediatrician, mayroon diyang infectious disease, microbiologist, pharmacist, mayroon diyang public health person, mayroon diyang even nurses, mayroon diyang housewife. Parang nakikita mo iyong gamut of mothers na medyo may alam din at nag-train tungkol sa bakuna. Iyong grupong iyon,” Bravo said during the briefing.
(There would be an epidemiologist, a pediatrician, an infectious disease, microbiologist, pharmacist, a public health person, even nurses, and a housewife. It’s like a gamut of mothers who know and are trained regarding vaccination. That’s the group.)
“Pero siyempre may chair iyan, lagi namang may chair, hindi naman puwedeng wala, in fact may structure iyan.
Pero when you make a decision, it is a decision of a whole group of people, not just one person, that is the essence of this. This is a big decision that is done by real scientists and experts,” he added.
(But of course, there will be a chair, there’s always a chair, there’s a structure there. But when you make a decision, it is a decision of a whole group of people, not just one person, that is the essence of this. This is a big decision that is done by real scientists and experts.)
Roque then requested Bravo to make a video message detailing her proposal so that it can be sent to the President for consideration.
“I assure you that it will reach him tonight when we meet. You can send me a video message to the President and we will submit it to him tonight,” he said.
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.