Vaccine delivery delayed

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THE much-anticipated delivery of COVID-19 vaccines from the World Health Organization’s COVAX Facility is not taking place at a time everybody thought it would, says vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez who cited the absence of an indemnification law in the country.

In a television interview, Galvez, however, clarified that the delay would not be long – just one week, as he hinted government efforts in fast-tracking insertion of an indemnification clause in the contract, which will ensure compensation for Filipinos who will experience serious side effects after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

“I think the delay is only for one week. When we announced it, sinasabi nga po natin na dependent ‘yung COVAX sa documentation. We are finishing our documentation on time. Pero ‘yung tinatawag nating indemnification clause, matagal na naming hinahanap po ‘yun kaya lang po binigay lang ito only this week. Now, our lawyers are trying to finish it today so that we don’t have any more obstruction on the delivery of the vaccine,” Galvez said.

“We will meet this 5 p.m. so that we can immediately sign the indemnity agreement,” he added.

During an earlier Senate inquiry, Galvez said that the country could have received 117,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by now if the Philippines had an indemnification law.

The Philippines will receive 5.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility in the first quarter of this year.

The country has tallied 543,282 infections with 500,335 recoveries and 11,469 deaths as of Thursday afternoon.

Galvez also reiterated that the country has not yet signed a supply agreement with any vaccine manufacturer since it requires a definitive delivery date. What the government has signed so far are term sheets that lock in the supply of over 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

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