MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday denied that there is a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines in the Philippines, saying local government units should instead improve systems in inoculation sites.
Duterte did not mention a specific area, but said that several local government units have been implementing "bull****" policies in vaccination sites.
"Mukhang hindi tayo nagkulang sa bakuna," he said in a televised address after an IATF meeting.
(It seems that we do not lack vaccines.)
"The problem is for local government units to come up with a more sane process of vaccination than allowing people to queue as early as 4 in the morning and getting their shots at 9 in the morning," he said.
Local governments should not entertain walk-in vaccinations, or cater to individuals who wish to be jabbed against COVID-19 but do not have a prior schedule for it, the President said.
"Itong ganito, waiting as early as 4 in the morning, para bang to me it is bull**** actually kapag ganun ang ginagawa mo sa Pilipino," he said.
(This setup, waiting as early as 4 in the morning, to me is bull**** actually when you do that to Filipinos.)
"I'd like to have a rule to encourage them to not use that kind of set up even if it is numbered or if it is just given to anybody who wants it," he said.
Duterte instructed the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to ensure that people who are queuing for vaccines are made to stay in covered areas and are monitored by village officials.
"People are exposed in the open, unprotected from the elements
tapos (and) waiting to get a chance to have the shot, mga 3-4 hours magtindig yan (they have to stand for 3-4 hours)," he said.
"It's not the way how to do it. They (local governments) have to be more proactive than just setting the venue without the mechanism of how to transfer it," he said.
As of July 22, the Philippines has fully vaccinated 5.5 million Filipinos against COVID-19, while 10.8 million others have received their first dose.
With the recent delivery of COVID-19 jabs from AstraZeneca, Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer, and Sinovac, the Philippines has sufficient supply until August, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said.
Earlier this month, several Metro Manila cities temporarily halted vaccination in some sites due to the lack of vaccines.