MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte said on Thursday "nobody know" when COVID-19 shots would be enough for the Philippines.
The Philippines has so far received 3.02 million COVID-19 vaccine doses. Duterte said these are "barely enough to inoculate the health workers."
The country has 1.7 million medical professionals who are on top of the inoculation priority.
Industrial countries "are not ready really to let go of their stocks of vaccine," Duterte said in a taped public address.
"When will have that stock sufficient to vaccinate the people? I really do not know. Nobody knows," said the President.
"There's no sufficient supply to inoculate the world. Matagal pa 'to. Sabihin ko sa 'yo marami pang mamamatay dito," he added.
(This will last longer. I'll tell you, more people would die here.)
Earlier this week, Duterte said he would "waive" his slot in the vaccination drive while COVID-19 shots are scarce.
This is despite the call of Vice President Leni Robredo and several others for the President to be among the first to get vaccinated in a bid to boost public confidence in the jabs.
The Philippines aims to vaccinate 70 million people this year.
Authorities have administered about 1.2 million shots, Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque said in a press briefing earlier Thursday.
The government expects to receive 1.5 million more vaccine doses this April.
The country has logged a total of 904,285 coronavirus infections, of which 183,527 or 20.3 percent were active cases as of Thursday, the Department of Health (DOH) said in its latest bulletin
The agency also reported 148 new COVID-related deaths, pushing the country's coronavirus death toll to 15,594.