PH still can’t make reservations for COVID-19 vaccines – Duterte
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines still can’t make reservations for COVID-19 vaccines— not because it lacks funds but because other countries have already made their own reservations, President Rodrigo Duterte said in a pre-recorded address aired late on Tuesday.
According to Duterte, the United States and some countries in Europe, where the pharmaceutical companies are based, have already made a down payment on the vaccines to reserve them for their own citizens.
So funding is not a problem, he said, with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez assuring him that the government would be able to secure another loan for $300 million.
“As long as someone would lend us money, no problem about it,” he said, speaking partly in Filipino. “How long? In due time. It’s not that we don’t want to buy. There’s still nothing for us to buy.”
“So you can expect that in the few months until next year, all of those vaccines produced will be used by the Americans. Same story with the European countries who have successfully developed a vaccine,” he added.
And it’s the same situation with China, which Duterte said last April would prioritize the Philippines in the provision of vaccines.
“Again, we have to keep in mind that they have a population to worry [about], and that population is not easy,” the President said.
China would take care of its own citizens first before they give vaccines to others, he added.
Meanwhile, Duterte remained optimistic that the government could afford to shoulder the inoculation of the country’s poorest.
Filipinos with more money, he pointed out, would be able to “buy the medicines for themselves.”