National Policy Against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said there was “no bus missed” in the country’s acquisition of vaccines for the coronavirus disease 2019 just because there was no early deal forged with US pharmaceutical company Pfizer.
“Let me reiterate, no ‘bus’ was missed or no ‘ball’ was dropped because we are focused on our main goal, and that is, to secure an equitable share of the vaccines,” Galvez said in a statement.
“In reality, negotiations on many occasions will reach stalemate and gridlock when legal challenges, public interest, and safety are at stake. The CDA or the Confidential Disclosure Agreement is just one of the many phases of the negotiations,” he added.
Galvez said officials in the Duterte administration also “cannot afford to engage in finger-pointing or buck-passing” as the country continues to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
The issue on the botched deal between the government and Pfizer was made known by Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin who said in a Tweeter message on Tuesday that “somebody dropped the ball” on the negotiations. Locsin said the deal could have allowed the Philippines to acquire 10 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer that could be delivered in January 2021.
Locsin said the CDA to seal the deal was not submitted early enough, as negotiations with Pfizer started in July this year.
While Locsin did not name the official who derailed the Pfizer deal, Senator Panfilo Lacson said it was Health Secretary Franciso Duque 3rd. Two other senators – Francis Pangilinan and Grace Poe – have expressed their displeasure over the botched deal. SOVEREIGNPH