PRIORITY sectors under the government’s vaccine rollout plan are left with no other option but to take the low-efficacy China-made COVID-19 vaccines developed by Sinovac as the much-anticipated delivery of the AstraZeneca jabs from Europe won’t take place — not until after one week.
In an announcement aired over the state-owned television station, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque attributed the delay in the delivery of 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX facility on March 1, to what the government aptly described as “limited supply.”
“Hindi matutuloy. Ang sabi ng WHO (World Health Organization), nagkakaproblema sila sa supply, maaantala pa raw ng mga isa pang linggo,” Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque said in a separate statement made moments after the arrival of 600,000 donated doses of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine.
“Nakita naman natin na itong AstraZeneca ay pinag-aagawan sa Europe at developing countries. Naiintindihan naman natin, makakapag-antay pa tayo,” vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez said.
Sec. Galvez earlier assured that the AstraZeneca doses from the COVAX Facility will be delivered a day after the arrival of the Chinese vaccines from Sinovac Biopharmaceutical, Ltd. of China.
In a related development, Duterte hinted on the possibility of flying to China “when everything has settled down” to personally thank Chinese President Xi Jinping for donating 600,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine to the Philippines.
“Towards the end of the year, when everything has settled down, I’d like to make a short visit to China to just shake hands with President Xi Jinping and to personally thank him for this donation,” Duterte told Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian.
Duterte led the team of top government officials in welcoming the arrival of the Sinovac shipment at the Villamor Airbase on Sunday.