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'Somebody dropped the ball' on Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines from US, says Locsin


Ten million doses of COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer were supposed to be delivered to the Philippines in January but somebody committed a mistake, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said on Tuesday.

Locsin made the remark on Twitter after a series of tweets supporting the Philippines' purchase of 25 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Chinese firm Sinovac.

"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 World Bank and ADB to be shipped thru FEDEX to Clark in January," Locsin said.

"But somebody dropped the ball. I have steel ball bearings. I just need a slingshot," he added.

Asked by GMA News' Joseph Morong if the Philippines may no longer expect Pfizer vaccines, Locsin said, " General Galvez is ordering. He is our savior."

"Note that he is a general. The generals are getting things done," Locsin said in apparent reference to National Task Force on COVID-19 Response chair Secretary Carlito Galvez, a retired general of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Sought for comment, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque told a news conference that he had “no idea who dropped the ball.”

Some countries such as the United Kingdom and the US have already approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for local use as final results from the late-stage trial show it was 95% effective, with no serious side effects.

“Ang problema, gustuhin man natin ang Pfizer, eh wala naman tayong makuha para sa first quarter," Roque said.

"Ang tina-target ng delivery ng Pfizer na hindi pa natin alam kung ilan ay sa second at sa third quarter. At maraming hindi na makakaantay ng second to third quarter,” he added.

Nearly 25 million Filipinos composed of frontline health workers, the poor and uniformed personnel will be among the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as the country eyes to begin its mass immunization program within the first half of 2021.

Galvez said on Monday that the Philippines aims to finalize a deal with Chinese firm Sinovac for 25 million doses this week.

“At siyempre po, kung makakakuha tayo ng Pfizer, ng AstraZeneca at nakakuha na nga iyong pribadong sektor ng AstraZeneca na balita ko ay mapaparami pa, at saka Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, well and good po,” Roque said.

“Pero ngayon, the market is really demand-driven and we will get what can procure, wala po tayong favorites.” -Virgil Lopez/NB, GMA News

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