The government denied reports it is withholding vaccine supplies intended for the private sector.
National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19 Chief Implementer, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., said the Philippines has secured a total of 20 million doses of Moderna vaccines, with 13 million of them procured by the government and 7 million doses purchased by various private companies, pooled through the International Container Terminal Services, Inc (ICTSI).
Some 249,600 doses initially delivered last June, he said, were part of the 13 million doses purchased by the government.
While, the private sector-procured vaccines, through a separate supply agreement with the Moderna company, are tentatively scheduled to arrive within the third quarter of this year.
“However, due to the Philippines’ strong bilateral ties with the United States, we were able to request Moderna to allocate a portion of their first delivery to the private sector. It was then agreed that 49,600 doses from the first shipment will be given to them,” Galvez explained in a statement.
The NTF, he said, even decided to augment the private sector’s allocation of up to 50,000 doses, keeping only 150,000 doses for the use of the national government.
The private sector received a total of 99,600 doses of Moderna vaccines in June.
“This is why we find it disconcerting that the NTF and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases are being accused of holding the vaccine supply procured by the private sector. This issue, which has been circulating online, is clearly peddled by malicious individuals who wish to undermine the country’s vaccine rollout,” he said.
Galvez said the accusation is “clearly unfounded, unfair and farthest from the truth.”
Citing the strong collaboration between the government and the private sector, Galvez said the lone goal is to ensure a successful vaccination rollout nationwide.
“We would like to emphasize that even before the vaccine rollout, the national government and the private sector have been working hand-in-hand to ensure that we will be able to get these life-saving vaccines into the arms of as many Filipinos as possible,” he said. “We understand the importance and urgency of inoculating our essential workers and economic front-liners. This is why we opened the vaccination program for this sector as early as June 7.”
Galvez said the move to augment the private sector’s vaccine supply is intended to scale up the nationwide vaccine rollout, as more companies have expressed readiness to activate their respective mega vaccination hubs, which could further hasten the inoculation program.