Failure to secure Pfizer vaccines by January ‘tragic, almost criminal,’ says Poe

MANILA, Dec 19 (Mabuhay) — The Philippine government’s alleged failure to successfully secure 10 million doses of Pfizer vaccines against COVID-19 by January 2021 is lamentable, Senator Grace Poe said Friday.

“I think it’s really tragic and, to an extent, criminal on their part for having missed the chance of acquiring 10 million vaccines,” Poe said.

“‘Yung leadership ng DOH urong-sulong, hindi makagawa ng desisyon, ‘di makabigay ng tamang rekomendasyon. We missed it. Our chance to get that was given to Singapore because they could act decisively and we can’t,” she added.

“How many lives would be lost because of that lost opportunity?”

Poe pointed out that many Filipinos are already feeling the fatique of quarantine restrictions and that the country’s economy continues to suffer because the COVID-19 virus has yet to be tamed.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. recently said the Pfizer vaccines could have been shipped to the country by January but “somebody dropped the ball.”

Senator Panfilo Lacson, citing information from Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez, said it was Health Secretary Francisco Duque III who made a mistake by sitting on the required Confidentiality Disclosure Agreement (CDA).

Duque, on the other hand, said there is no such thing as dropping the ball and that the negotiation with Pfizer is still ongoing.

The DOH also clarified that the CDA does not immediately guarantee vaccine supply.

Asked if she would reiterate the senators’ previous call for Duque’s resignation because of the alleged shortcoming, Poe said she will have to find out in the upcoming Senate Committee of the Whole hearing on the government’s vaccination plan. (MNS)

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