Late arrival of COVID-19 vaccines, caused by global supply shortage — Duque

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Disagreeing with Sen. Franklin Drilon’s assessment, Health Sec. Francisco Duque III attributed the delay in the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines in the country to supply shortage, rather than because of the government’s mismanagement.

The senator manifested his opinions last month, following reports that the COVID-19 vaccines haven’t arrived due to the lack at that time of an indemnification law, which was required by pharmaceutical companies and the COVAX facility.

“I’d like to disagree because the global supply is the big problem. Yung shortage talaga, yun ang malaking problem natin,” Duque said when asked to react to Drilon’s statement.

“Ten countries have already secured 75 percent of the global supply and even the WHO has missed on its target to get the poorer countries get off with their vaccination, 130 countries. ‘Yung masakit na problema, yung supply, na-corner ng mga mayayamang bansa,” he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte previously made a similar claim, saying “AstraZeneca was held hostage by the European Union.” It was later clarified by the international bloc that its export controls on the vaccines would not hamper Philippine access. 

The country started its vaccination rollout on Monday using COVID-19 shots from Sinovac Biotech, donated by the Chinese government.