Duque appeals to Filipinos for patience amid delayed vaccines

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Health Secretary Francisco Duque III in a briefing sought the public’s understanding and patience over the delayed arrival of COVID-19 vaccines in the Philippines.

“Konting pasensya po ang aking pinapakiusap, umaapela po ako sa taumbayan,” Duque said.

He assured Filipinos that vaccines procured by the government will arrive soon. The health chief also pointed at the “global supply shortage” of vaccines as the one to blame for the delay.

“Makakaasa kayo na darating at darating na po ang mga bakunang iyan. Pero dapat ipaliwanag ko din na ang pangunahing dahilan kung bakit wala pang bakuna ay talaga naman iyong global supply shortage,” he explained.

Duque’s explanation backs the earlier pronouncement of vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr., who also apologized and appealed for the public’s patience after the delay in the arrival of vaccines. According to him, it is not the government’s problem as they do not have control over the global supply chain.

Previously, authorities announced that the first batch of vaccines to be supplied by the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility may arrive by the middle of February. This was delayed due to the absence of an indemnification deal, which Galvez later confirmed had already been submitted to the concerned manufacturers Pfizer and AstraZeneca.