Issue ‘becoming political’: Galvez defends Duque amid ‘dropping the ball’ allegations

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 17 2020 11:33 PM

Issue ‘becoming political’: Galvez defends Duque amid ‘dropping the ball’ allegations 1
Vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. (left) defended Health Sec. Francisco Duque III (right) after the latter supposedly “dropped the ball” in the supposed Philippines’ COVID-19 vaccine deal with drugmaker Pfizer.

MANILA - Vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. defended Health Secretary Francisco Duque III from allegations that he “dropped the ball” in the Philippines’ supposed COVID-19 vaccine deal with drugmaker Pfizer.

Galvez slammed the allegation as “unfair”, saying Duque did his part and that negotiations with Pfizer were ongoing and at the “advanced stage”.

“In fairness to Sec. Duque, walang ganyan na sinasabi na ‘dropped the ball’,” Galvez told ABS-CBN News.

“I believe it’s becoming a political issue right now. In fairness to Sec. Duque, he is doing his part,” he added.

Foreign Affairs Sec. Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Tuesday said that 10 million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine were set to be shipped to the Philippines in January until “somebody dropped the ball”.

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Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday alleged it was Duque who “failed to work on the necessary documentary requirements” needed for the Confidentiality Disclosure Agreement (CDA) with Pfizer.

But Galvez raised doubts on these claims. 

“Wala akong narinig na ganun,” he said.

“’Yung delivery ng 10 million next year is very impossible, ’yung January. Kasi sa ngayon nakikita natin na most of the countries have already gotten 80 percent of the vaccines na nasa supply line,” the vaccine czar explained.

Should negotiations materialize, Galvez said he expected the COVID vaccines from Pfizer to arrive in the country in the second trimester of 2021.

He also responded to observations that the Duterte administration appeared to be prioritizing the COVID-19 vaccine from China despite questions on its efficacy and safety data.

“It’s unfair for us na sinasabi natin na mayroon tayong bias sa China. Tinitingnan po natin lahat. ’Yung aming natingnan, apat US vaccine,” Galvez said.

“Napagkasunduan namin previously na magkaroon ng portfolio. Ibig sabihin hindi ka lang kukuha sa isang bansa o sa isang manufacturer . . . We can’t put all our eggs in one basket.”

Duque on Wednesday belied insinuations the Philippines was no longer in talks with Pfizer about the procurement of vaccines.

"The negotiations are ongoing . . . Tuloy-tuloy lang po kami sa mga (We are just continuously going through) reviews nung mga conditionalities and provisions," he said.


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