President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday claimed that his administration’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic had been sufficient and that the low stock of vaccines was holding the country back.

“Itong ating problema sa Pilipinas, kulang ang bakuna. Nagbibili tayo kung saan-saan at dumadating lang ngayon pakaunti-kaunti. Were it not for, well the donation of China, wala tayo, zero,” he said in a televised address.

“We started with nothing and we could continue preventing sickness, hospitalization and everything kung may bakuna na tayo at na-distribute na natin sa lahat ng corners ng Pilipinas at nabakunahan na ang tao,” he added.

As of May 5, the Philippines has recorded 1,073,555 Covid-19 cases.

Its vaccine supply has been relatively low, with only 4,040,600 vaccine doses to date, majority of which were donations from China.

Duterte said other countries, such as the US and Brazil, had been experiencing the same Covid-19-caused crisis.

“Sino bang mag-akala dadating ‘yan [Covid-19] sa mundo? Lahat…I am not comparing, but America, Brazil and everything are suffering the same problem. Iyong ibang lugar nga nasa sahig na lang sila,” he added.

So far, only about 1.44 percent of the Philippine population has received their first Covid-19 vaccine dose.

Covid-19 vaccines approved for emergency use in the Philippines are two-dose vaccines Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Sinovac, Covaxin and Sputnik V and the single-dose Janssen vaccine.

The country has rolled out Sinovac, AstraZeneca and Sputnik V vaccines. John Ezekiel J. Hirro