Nograles: Duterte not holding anyone accountable for vaccine rollout delay
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is not holding anyone accountable for the delay in the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines, a Palace official said Thursday.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the President is of the belief that his government officials are doing all they can to procure Covid-19 vaccines.
Nograles said the President understands that the country is only at the “receiving end” of the vaccines, and it is the manufacturers’ obligation and responsibility to ship the vaccines.
“Si Pangulo also understands na we are at the receiving end of these vaccines, ginagawa naman natin ang lahat ng kinakailangan natin based on the requirements being asked of us,” he said in an online press briefing when asked if the President is holding anyone accountable for the vaccine delay.
(The President understands that we are just at the receiving end of these vaccines. We are doing what we can based on the requirements being asked of us.)
“But at the end of the day, it’s the vaccine manufacturers’ obligation and responsibility to ship it to us at the time that it has promised,” Nograles added.
The government’s vaccination program was supposed to kickstart in mid-February with the arrival of 117,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine. However, the delivery was delayed due to a hitch in paperwork processing.
It was later revealed that Pfizer-BioNTech had requested an indemnity agreement with the country. The Philippines has already signed and submitted an indemnity agreement, and the vaccine manufacturer still has to submit its counter-offer.
Meanwhile, 600,000 vaccine doses from China-based drugmaker Sinovac were supposed to arrive on Tuesday, Feb. 23, but were also delayed as the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had only issued its vaccine an emergency use authorization.
The Chinese government would need at least three days to process its delivery of the vaccine doses.
Meanwhile, delivery of vaccine doses from British-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca is also facing delays due to manufacturing complications.
Around 5.5 million doses to 9.2 million doses are expected from AstraZeneca, whose initial delivery is scheduled by mid to late February.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier asked for more patience amid the delay in the arrival of Covid-19 vaccines, admitting that the Philippines is lagging behind some countries which have already started vaccinating its citizens.
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