The national government’s vaccination drive against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) will not be tainted by politics, Malacañang assured on Thursday.
In a Palace press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte has made it clear that all priority groups would be provided with free doses of the potential vaccine, regardless of whether they are part of the opposition or critics.
“Wala pong pulitika diyan. Kung may pulitika po diyan, gagawin ni Presidente ang ginawa ng naunang presidente at administrasyon, ang mga kalaban ay hindi bibigyan (There’s no politics there. If there’s politics, the President won’t provide doses for members of the opposition, like what the previous administration did),” Roque said.
He maintained that the poorest of the poor, uniformed personnel, front-liners, and those with comorbidities must be prioritized in the government’s immunization campaign.
“Kinakailangan po ng bakuna para matapos ang pandemya at ibibigay po iyan sa lahat (The vaccine is needed to end the pandemic and it will be given to everyone),” he added.
Roque earlier assured that the vaccines would be made affordable to many Filipinos even if the government could not provide free vaccines to all.
At least 20 million poorest of the poor would get free vaccine shots, he added.
Last week, the President agreed to make advance payments to potential suppliers of Covid-19 vaccines despite initially opposing it.
Duterte also approved various modes of financing for vaccines, including private-public tripartite agreements, without cost to the government and the emergency use authorization to be issued to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) via a proposed executive order.
Roque said there would be no need to amend the FDA Charter to authorize the emergency use of potential vaccines.
“EO lang po ang kinakailangan (An executive order is all we need) because we are already implementing the law vesting the FDA with the jurisdiction to regulate the sale of vaccines and medicines,” he said.
Roque said the EO would simply speed up the processing time for approval of potential vaccines from six months to 21 days.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said the government began negotiations with vaccine manufacturers AstraZeneca, Sinovac, and Pfizer for the county’s potential vaccine supply.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said the government has identified PHP73.2 billion in funding sources to purchase potential vaccines for 60 million people in the country at approximately PHP1,200 per person. (PNA)