MANILA, Philippines — Private firms can now import COVID-19 vaccines “at will” amid the alarming surge of COVID-19 cases, President Rodrigo Duterte announced in a pre-recorded briefing that was televised Monday night.
“I have ordered Sec Galvez to sign any and all documents that would allow the private sector to import at will,” he said.
“No matter how much or how many they want to bring in, it’s okay with me,” he added.
According to him, there is no guarantee that private firms can secure more doses of the vaccines, but many of them have expressed their intention to buy COVID-19 vaccines to be distributed to their workers in a bid to reopen the economy.
Earlier, Malacañang said all private firms, including tobacco manufacturers of tobacco, could choose to procure COVID-19 vaccines provided that they would get into a tripartite agreement with the national government.
Duterte admitted that the government was having a hard time getting COVID-19 vaccines since other countries had been fighting over supply, with some buying up the dosses.
“Something has gone wrong with most of the countries. They shanghaied [the doses]. There’s a ruckus going on and the fight for COVID-19 [vaccine] possession is ongoing, is a very serious one,” he said.
On Monday, one million CoronaVac doses bought from Chinese drugmaker Sinovac BioTech arrived in the Philippines.
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