The Philippines' Immunization Czar, Carlito Galzez, on Friday apologized for the delay in the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines, as the arrival of the first shipments were pushed back.
Geopolitics has left the Philippines and 129 others still without COVID vaccines roughly one year since global lockdowns started. The U.S. and Europe was first to secure their supplies, Galvez told Metro Manila mayors.
"Kaunting pasensya lang po. Pasensya na po talaga na talagang hindi po natin kasi hawak iyong ating supply chain… doon sa mga vaccine," he said.
The country's negotiations with the Covax facility are ongoing, with commitments to provide the around 44 million doeses. Covax is a global vaccine equity alliance that includes the World Health Organization.
"Dapat intindihin din natin sila, na iyong pagbabakuna ng buong mundo, ay isang malaking hamon din sa kanila," he said.
Plans to visit the Serum Institute of India are also in place. The institute will produce two to three billion vaccine doses, including 30 million Novavax shots for the Philippines, with a portion dedicated to the private sector and local government units, Galvez said.
"Sa awa po ng Diyos, siguro po tingnan po natin, baka po meron ding umabot na vaccine this coming February and majority of our vaccine, baka magdating po ng March," Galvez said.
"Sana po maintindihan n’yo po ang kalagayan ng gobyerno. Kami po talaga, ginagawa po namin ang aming magagawa, lalo na sa FDA, na sana iyong aming, iyong ating vaccine na dadalhin dito ay very safe, effective," he said.