MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday lauded the pace of the country’s vaccination rollout, saying it is proof that the government is doing its best to ensure that more Filipinos are protected against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
In a pre-recorded meeting with Cabinet members, Duterte said he was pleased with the report which showed that over 1.4 million vaccine doses have been administered to Filipinos since the vaccination drive kicked off on March 1, 2021.
Filipinos have so far been administered with either Covid-19 vaccines developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. or British-Swede firm AstraZeneca.
Citing data from Bloomberg and Foreign Service Posts, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez said the Philippines ranked third in Southeast Asia in terms of Covid-19 vaccination after Indonesia and Singapore.
He said the Philippines also ranked 41st out of 173 countries that have started vaccinating, and 14th out of 47 countries in Asia.
“Maganda ang record natin (Our record is great) despite unfounded criticisms. The Philippines was able to get the upper berth, I said of the countries that are inoculated. Maganda and record niyan (Our record is great) to think people were almost in a quandary where to get the next vaccination,” Duterte said.
He acknowledged that the pace of the country’s vaccination rollout is not as fast as everyone would like, but noted that vaccinating more than 1 million people was already an accomplishment.
“Nakita mo naman hindi pala tayo yung pinaka mahina. Mataas nga yung atin (You see, we’re not the weakest. We’re high on the list),” he said.
The country’s high ranking, he said, showed that the government, especially Galvez, is working hard to get as many people vaccinated at the soonest possible time.
“It goes to show that we are really working very hard, especially Secretary Galvez, to get the vaccines here in the Philippines on time. Though it is not as fast as people would like to expect,” he said.
Despite delays in the arrival of Covid-19 vaccine doses, Duterte said Galvez’s performance is “more than acceptable”.
“It speaks well of the efforts of your office to at least come to a more than an acceptable performance in the matter of the fight against Covid,” he added.
Galvez, for his part, assured that more than 2 million Covid-19 vaccine doses are expected to arrive in the country this month, 4 million doses by May, and 7 to 8 million doses by June.
The Philippines aims to secure 148 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines from several companies to inoculate an initial 50 to 70 million Filipinos this year. (PNA)
April 20, 2021