PRRD: Philippines has yet to purchase vaccines

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President Rodrigo Roa Duterte holds a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Malacañan Palace on March 9, 2020. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday that amid questions from officials and the public over the whereabouts of COVID-19 vaccines supposedly purchased with loans by government, the Philippines hasn’t yet bought any vaccine doses from foreign drugmakers.

In a public briefing, Duterte said the current coronavirus vaccines that are being distributed in the country were donated by China and the COVAX Facility, an initiative which aims for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

“Sabihin mo, ‘san ang bakuna?’ Bakuna nabili? Wala. Wala tayong bakuna na nabili. Wala pa. Kung magdating man, baka mga next week siguro,” he said.

The President reiterated his previous statement that funds borrowed by the government to buy COVID-19 vaccines are “still in the bank.”

At least 1 million vaccines from China-based drugmaker Sinovac were donated to the Philippines. The COVAX facility has also given to the country 525,000 COVID-19 jabs from UK-based AstraZeneca, which is in partnership with University of Oxford.

Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez earlier said at least 1 million more Sinovac vaccine doses, which were bought under contract, will arrive in the Philippines by March 29.

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