BATANES TO TAWI-TAWI
Julmunir I. Jannaral
Even before the SINOVAC Vaccine can be acquired by Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. many are quite skeptical whether the Vaccine is effective and safe.
This Column has received so many unsolicited and unconfirmed information regarding the veracity or authenticity of the COVID-19 pandemic saying that it is a hoax.
Granting for the sake of argument it is a hoax, how come that here in the Philippines and in some other countries like an advanced country like USA there are already 308,000 deaths now out of the 17 million active cases as of this writing.
Be that as it may, I myself is still confused as to the veracity of the News that COVID-19 is a hoax. The source of my information are seems to be reliable because they are my friends. However I could not just swallow the information hook, line, and sinker. This is notwithstanding of our relationship as friends.
Anyway it took Senate Health Committee Chairman Senator Christopher “Bong” Go to intervene regarding the efficacy and safety of COVID-19 Vaccine.
In fact Senator Bong Go challenged Vaccine Czar Galvez and Health Secretary Francisco Duque, III to make themselves as “Guinea Pig” in the vaccination trial.
The Senator from Davao City said he challenged the two Cabinet officials of President Rodrigo Duterte in order to allay fears and build confidence of the public once the vaccine ordered from SINOVAC arrived from China.
Amid few doubts on the efficacy and safety of COVID-19 vaccines, Senator Go posed the challenge to DOH Secretary Duque III and vaccine czar Presidential Peace Adviser Galvez to have themselves injected first with the vaccine. This is as I repeat to allay the fears of some people as well as to build their confidence on its safety and efficacy.
Meanwhile, Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado said that they are anticipating the need for a larger budget to procure sufficient vaccines. He said the DBM has allocated P10 billion for Bayanihan 2 for the procurement of vaccine.
Although in the National Expenditure Program, there is P2.5 billion initial budget for the procurement,” Avisado added.
In a related development, the failure of the DOH Secretary to submit documents needed for Pfizer vaccine deal is now the talk of the town, according to Senator Panfilo Lacson.
Senator Lacson said the Philippines would have secured the delivery of 10 million doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines as early as January next year had Health Secretary Francisco Duque III worked on the documentary requirements needed for the deal.
Lacson said he was able to talk to Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Romualdez about the official who “dropped the ball” on the Pfizer vaccine deal.
According to Lacson, the negotiation between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. as arranged by Romualdez started in July this year, which would have allowed the country to acquire the Pfizer vaccines as early as January 2021.
“They could have secured the delivery of 10 million Pfizer vaccines as early as January next year, way ahead of Singapore but for the indifference of Sec. Duque who failed to work on the necessary documentary requirement namely, the Confidentiality Disclosure Agreement (CDA) as he should have done,” Lacson said.
“The country representative of Pfizer was even following up on the submission of such documentary requirements,” he added, noting that Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has assured both Locsin and Romualdez that funds would be “made available” for the vaccines.
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