Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin and National Policy Against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. are in a race to close a deal with US-based pharma firm Pfizer to supply the country with vaccines for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
As of Saturday, however, it was not clear if their separate efforts were complimentary or in conflict.
Over Twitter, Locsin said he had talked with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a second effort to purchase Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer. Locsine’s initial effort initiated in July last year was botched by the failure of the government to submit a Confidentiality Disclosure Agreement (CDA) for the deal. The CDA was even followed up by Pfizer representatives, Locsin said.
“Great phone conversation with Mike Pompeo last night. Lotsa laughs at others. But on the most serious note I asked him to help Babe and I get back even a fraction of the 10 million doses of Pfizer after someone dropped the ball. He’ll give it his best try. Babe’s securing Moderna,” Locsin said in over Twitter.
Babe is Jose Romualdez, the Philippine Ambassador to the US.
On the part of Galvez, he said he will conclude a deal with Pfizer before the end of the year.
“We will make sure that we can procure vaccines from Pfizer,” said Galvez. “Hopefully we can, because Pfizer is good since it has stringent authorization with the United Kingdom, United States, Singapore and Canada, which means that the Food and Drug Administration requirement in our country will be easy.”
He said he is only awaiting from Pfizer how much doses can be delivered to the Philippines starting next year.
Galvez added he is the sole negotiator in the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines for the Philippines as authorized by President Rodrigo Duterte.
It was Locsin who revealed on Tuesday last week that “someone dropped the ball” or derailed a potential early deal with Pfizer to supply the country with 10 million doses of its Covid-19. He said the initial negotiations also involved Romualdez and Pompeo.
If the early deal with Pfizer pushed through, the Philippines would have been assured of 10 million doses of Covid vaccines that would be delivered to the Philippines in January 2021.
While Locsin did not identify who “dropped the ball,” Senator Panfilo Lacson on Thursday said it was Health Secretary Franciso Duque 3rd who derailed the deal by not submitting early the CDA needed to conclude the deal with Pfizer. CURRENTPH