President Rodrigo Duterte, who earlier volunteered to be the “guinea pig” to allay the public’s fears on Covid-19 vaccines, said on Wednesday that government officials including himself would be the last to get inoculated.
In a late-night televised address, Duterte said members of his government would only make use of leftover vaccines.
“Pagdating ng [bakuna], kung milyon ‘yan, magsabay-sabay na kayo lahat, at saka huli na kami. Kung may maiwan, para sa amin: kay (Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go), kay Secretary (Delfin) Lorenzana… Kung may maiwan, e ‘di para sa atin. Unahin natin sila,” he said.
In August last year, Duterte expressed willingness to receive the first doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine to assure the public of its safety.
“Pagdating ng bakuna, in public, para walang satsat diyan, magpa-injection ako. Ako ‘yung unang pag-experimentuhan,” he said.
“Kaya ako, para ipakita ko sa kanila na nagtiwala ako at hindi sila nagkamali mag-offer… ako ang unang magpabakuna. Kung puwede sa akin, puwede sa lahat,” he added.
The following is the priority list for the country’s vaccination as per Duterte’s latest address:
- frontline health workers
- teachers, social workers and other government workers
- essential workers outside health, education, social welfare (working in agriculture, food, tourism sectors)
- socio-demographic groups, overseas Filipino workers
- uniformed personnel
“All will have their vaccines, I assure you. Mayroon lang tayong unahin, ‘yung mga kawawa,” Duterte said.
The country has recorded 492,700 Covid-19 cases as of Jan. 13.
Duterte said the country fell behind the worldwide vaccine procurement race because richer countries were first to sign deals with vaccine manufacturers.
“Bakit natagalan? Alam mo, ang medisina ngayon pinakademand. So there is always the economics ang tawag ‘supply and demand,'” he said.
“Tayo, kasi maghiram tayo ng pera, nag-negotiate pa tayo, hindi talaga tayo papansinin niyan. Ang papansinin ‘yung may pera. Highest bidder ‘yan. Iyong lahat ng lumabas ngayon, puro sa Amerikano ‘yan, puro sa Europeans. Wala pa tayo pati ang Asia,” he added.
Earlier, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said 80 percent of the global supply of Covid-19 vaccines had already been purchased by rich countries.
He said only 18 percent of the global supply of vaccines was available for poorer countries like the Philippines.
Duterte said the vaccines the country had secured had yet to be manufactured.
“Pera-pera lang itong buhay na ito eh maski na sabihin mong Covid… Bakit hindi na tayo mag-umpisa? Mga kababayan ko, wala pa ang supply natin, ginagawa pa,” he declared.
The country has a P73.2-billion budget for its national vaccination program.
According to Galvez, the “main volume” of the country’s Covid-19 vaccines would be sourced from Novavax.
The country is negotiating for more or less 40 million doses from Pfizer, 25 to 30 million doses from AstraZeneca and 25 million doses each from Sinovac and Gamaleya.
The Philippines is expected to return to normalcy by 2023, the vaccine czar earlier divulged. John Ezekiel J. Hirro