DOH denies favoring Davao City in Pfizer vaccine allocation
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday insisted that there is no favoritism in the allocation of COVID-19 vaccines, denying allegations that Davao City, President Rodrigo Duterte’s hometown, is getting the lion’s share of US-made Pfizer vaccines delivered to the country.
Health Undersecretary Abdullah Dumama Jr. said the allocation for Davao, which was 210,000 doses, is for the whole province, and not only for the city. It is also the same amount received by Cebu province.
Dumama also said that these two provinces were given Pfizer allocations since they have ultra-low freezers that are capable of storing the vaccine.
“Nabigyan lang ito nang ganun kalaki [ng allocation], kung sa palagay ninyo ay malaki, ay dahil sa tayo ay mayroong capability,” he said in an online media forum.
“Walang favoritism dito,” Dumama added.
He said those in nearby provinces which don’t have ultra-low freezers can go to Davao province and they can be vaccinated there.
For her part, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said only five regions in the country have yet to be given Pfizer vaccines since they do not have the capability to store the vaccines — Bangsamoro, Caraga, Soccksargen, Bicol, and Mimaropa.
The DOH is ensuring that all regions will have the capability to store the Pfizer vaccines so they could also get allocations.
“Walang paborito, base lang sa pangangailangan, base sa prioritization framework,” she said in the same forum.
(There are no favorites. Only based on the needs and the prioritization framework.)
Dumama said the Bangsamoro parliament is drafting a resolution that would authorize the autonomous region to procure ultra-low freezers and increase the number of COVID-19 testing facilities in the area.
The Philippines has so far received over 2.46 million Pfizer vaccines, all from the global initiative COVAX facility.
The Philippine government has inked a deal for 40 million doses of US-made Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, the bulk of which are expected to be delivered in August.
Vergeire said there is “plenty of time to capacitate” the regions to store Pfizer vaccines.
“We are still going to follow the prioritization framework and rest assured these vaccines will be equitably allocated,” she said.
The DOH is pushing for a “brand agnostic” COVID-19 immunization campaign, after huge crowds turned up for the much preferred Pfizer vaccine in Metro Manila last month, potentially igniting a superspreader event.
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