MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the decision of cities throughout the country to procure their own COVID-19 vaccine supplies, as long as the brands would be approved by the Food and Drug Authority (FDA).
“Doon sa mga local governments, Sakur, wala akong objection kung magbili ang local government para iturok doon sa mga tao. OK ’yan. Walang inggitan ’to, puro tayo gobyerno,” Duterte said during his visit to the Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Headquarters in Sulu on Friday.
Clearing vaccines first with the FDA is a must, the chief executive added.
The FDA is the government’s sole regulatory body that approves the use of vaccine to Filipinos.
“Ang akin lang is that kung anuman ang i-ano ninyo, i-vaccinate, just clear it with the FDA. Lahat naman dumadaan talaga diyan. So it’s a mandatory requirement. Other than that, I have nothing to do,” said Duterte.
Several cities in the country, mostly from the capital region, have already secured their own COVID-19 vaccine doses and storage.
As of mid-January, at least 61 cities have already committed over P10 billion to secure their own supplies of COVID-19 vaccines, according to the League of Cities.
Those local government units unable to procure vaccines, the President said, would be the first to receive the supplies.
“Ngayon, ’yung akin para sa hindi ma — maserbisan ng local governments. So ’yung lahat sabi ko una ’yung mga mahirap. Iyon talagang mga mahirap na isang tuka, isang kahig."
The Commission on Human Rights expressed concern over LGUs’ equal access to vaccines, saying that only wealthy cities can buy their own supply separate from the national government.
The constitutional body reminded the national government that it is their responsibility to ensure that vaccines would be available even to the remotest parts of the country.
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