Duque: ‘No such thing as dropping the ball’ on Pfizer vaccine acquisition

MANILA, Philippines — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Wednesday denied that someone had “dropped the ball” in acquiring doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer, noting that the government’s negotiation with the US-based pharmaceutical company is ongoing.

Duque issued the clarification following Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.’s earlier remark via Twitter that the government was about to secure 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from  Pfizer until someone “dropped the ball.”

“First of all, there is no such thing as dropping the ball. If you look at the statement, the negotiations are ongoing and the DOH (Department of Health) went to the process of iteration,” the DOH chief said in a media forum when asked about the government’s current negotiation with Pfizer.

The health secretary emphasized that the department has reviewed the conditionalities and provisions stated in the confidentiality non-disclosure agreement (CDA) of Pfizer.

“I just want to make sure na di loose or disadvantageous to the government ‘yung mga provisions,” Duque explained.

In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Locsin added that the purchase of the Pfizer vaccine was to be bankrolled by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

“That said my thanks just the same to US Sec of State Mike Pompeo we—Babe Romualdez and I—got 10 million doses of Pfizer financed by World Bank and ADB to be shipped thru FEDEX to Clark in January,” Locsin said.

“BUT SOMEBODY DROPPED THE BALL. I have steel ball bearings. I just need a slingshot,” he added.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, during a briefing in Malacañang, said he has “no idea” who Locsin was referring to in his tweets.

READ: Palace: PH buying China vaccine since no commitment yet from others

But according to Senator Panfilo Lacson, it was a Cabinet official who “keeps dropping the ball but… stays in the game.”

READ: Lacson asks: Who ‘dropped the ball’ on Pfizer vaccine deal?

KGA

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