PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte said that the country has yet to purchase coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines.
Duterte made the statement late Wednesday night amid criticisms by some lawmakers about the low vaccine supply of the country despite billions of allocation for the vaccines.
In his public address, Duterte again pointed out that the country was able to get vaccines only through donations by the Chinese government and the World Health Organization (WHO).
“Ang dumadating puro donated by the WHO and China. Wala pa tayong bakuna (Those that were delivered were donated by WHO and China. We don’t have vaccines yet).”
“Sabi niyo, ‘Saan ang bakuna? Bakunang nabili?’ Wala. Wala tayong bakunang nabili. Wala pa,” (You asked ‘where are the vaccines?’ Purchased vaccines? None. We do not have purchased vaccines yet. Nothing yet).”
Duterte said the public should not expect the arrival of the vaccines soon except for the 1 million Sinovac doses to be procured by the government which is expected to be delivered on March 29.
“Wala pa hanggang ngayon at this very moment . . . Wala pa ‘yan. Medyo malayo pa (We do not have until now. And up to this time, there are no vaccines … I don’t think it will arrive soon),” he said.
“But next week or hopefully the week after. Basta sana (I hope) I pray that it will happen within the month of March,” he added.
The country received earlier this month a total of 1.1 milin doses of Covid-19 vaccines from Sinovac and AstraZeneca donated by the Chinese government and the WHO, respectively.
On Wednesday, the national government received another 400,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines from China. With the arrival of the vaccines, the country was able to start the vaccination of medical frontliners on March 1.
To date, over 500,000 of the 1.7 million medical frontliners have been immunized.
Duterte thanked both the Chinese government and the WHO for helping the Philippines.
“We have only to thank China and the World Health Organization for helping us out in our predicament at the moment,” he said.