Why are Vaccine Deals Delayed? Zubiri Seeks Senate Probe

Tripartite deals for at least 10 million doses remain unsigned, senator says.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said Tuesday that several supply agreements for the purchase of at least 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for local government units and the private sector have remained pending, delaying the rollout of the jabs.

Zubiri made the remark as he filed Senate Resolution 858 seeking an inquiry into the reports that these supply agreements have been languishing unsigned on the national government's end.

According to the senator, at least 42 LGUs and some 300 private companies still have pending tripartite agreements for an estimate of at least 10 million COVID-19 vaccine doses.

"Gusto namin malaman sa ating mga eksperto at leaders ng DOH at ng NTF bakit hindi pa napipirmahan itong mga dokumentong ito. Ito ay magbibigay ng tulong sa ating gobyerno," he told reporters in a virtual interview.

"Hindi na kailangan manghiram pa ang ating national government, hindi na sila kailangan maghanap pa ng pondo dahil yung pondo ay hawak na ng mga local governments, naka-budget na yan para sa kanilang vaccine procurement service," he added.

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The COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021, which Zubiri principally authored, allows LGUs and private entities to directly purchase COVID-19 vaccines from manufacturers with the supervision of the National Task Force Against COVID-19.

Zubiri appealed to the government to immediately release all the pending tripartite agreements so that the country could achieve the target herd immunity by the end of the year.

"Let's let our LGUs source more vaccines for their constituents and allow private entities to buy vaccines for their employees to take off some of the burden from the national government," he said in a separate statement.

"If there's a problem with the tripartite agreements, sana malinawan na po ang mga LGU and private groups, so we can find solutions and move forward with their procurements as soon as possible," he added.

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