PH lags behind some Southeast Asian neighbors in COVID-19 vaccine procurement

As Philippine officials trade barbs over who “dropped the ball” that supposedly foiled a Pfizer vaccine procurement deal, other Southeast Asian nations are receiving batches of their orders from pharmaceutical giants to immunize their citizens as soon as they get local regulatory approvals.

In Manila, inoculation czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said last week China’s Sinovac may only arrive in the country by March 2021— if a contract is signed within the month.

Western-made vaccines Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca might come at a later time, Galvez added, as their countries of origin will be prioritized and “more than 80 percent of vaccine manufacturing capacity has been procured” by first world countries.

However, Senator Panfilo Lacson alleged last week that an apparent Pfizer negotiation—which would have seen the arrival of its vaccine in Philippine shore by January 2021—was foiled due to Health Secretary Francisco Duque’s “indifference.”


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