Sat. Jan 16th, 2021

Senator Panfilo Lacson said Health Secretary Franciso Duque 3rd derailed a possible early deal with Pfizer for the supply of vaccines for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) by not submitting on time the Confidentiality Disclosure Agreement (CDA) for the deal.

Lacson said that as early as July this year, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin started talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for the purchase of Covid vaccines from Pfizer. It was Ambassador to the US Jose Romualdez that arranged the talks between Locsin and Pompeo.

However, the deal did not push through as the CDA to conclude the agreement was not submitted by the Department of Health (DOH) until November.

“They could have secured the delivery of 10 million Pfizer vaccines as early as January next year, way ahead of Singapore but for the indifference of Sec. Duque who failed to work on the necessary documentary requirement namely, the Confidentiality Disclosure Agreement (CDA) as he should have done,” Lacson said in a message to reporters.

“The country representative of Pfizer was even following up on the submission of such documentary requirements,” he added.

“As we now know, Singapore has the vaccines and we don’t,” Lacson said.

Locsin hit Duque hard on the issue. 

“That said, my thanks just the same to US Sec of State Mike Pompeo we—Babe Romualdez and I—got 10 million doses of Pfizer financed by [the] World Bank and ADB (Asian Development Bank) to be shipped thru FEDEX to Clark in January. BUT SOMEBODY DROPPED THE BALL. I have steel ball bearings. I just need a slingshot,” Locsin said in a tweet on Tuesday.

Duque is trying to rectify the situation.

In a media forum on Wednesday, Duque said negotiations with Pfizer are ongoing and National Policy Against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez signed a CDA with Pfizer in November.

“The DOH stands clear that while the department wants to expedite the process, there are systems and protocols in place and we cannot cut corners,” the DOH said in a statement. SOVEREIGNPH

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