February 23 ------ Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has appealed for more patience amid the delay in the arrival of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines in the country. “I’m appealing to the public for a little more patience. Rest assured that the vaccines will arrive,” he said during the “Laging Handa” public briefing Monday, Feb. 22. Duque cited the global supply shortage as main reason for the delay.
“The main reason why the vaccines have yet to arrive is the global supply shortage,” he said. “In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) said 130 countries have yet to start their vaccine rollout,” added Duque. He said the United Nations also reported that 10 countries used majority of the vaccines. Duque, however, expected that the vaccines were due to arrive soon such as the donated Sinovac vaccines.
“Once there is already an EUA (Emergency Use Authorization), the Chinese Embassy is asking for three to five days to prepare for the delivery of the 600,000 vaccine doses,” he said. Aside from this, Duque said, the government will also purchase additional doses of Sinovac, using the agency’s savings. “We will import and purchase about 50,000 doses of Sinovac using our savings as recommended by the National Task Force,” he said. On Monday, Feb. 22, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the granting of EUA to Sinovac.