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Palace: Duterte wants creation of Vaccine Institute as legacy

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President Rodrigo Duterte wants to fund a Vaccine Institute before he steps down from office on June 30, 2022, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said on Tuesday.

“What he wants is for the (Department of Budget and Management) to set aside funding for Vaccine Institute so we can manufacture our own vaccine,” Roque said at a Palace briefing.

“He wants to leave it as a legacy: having a Vaccine Institute, para hindi na tayo umaasa sa inaangkat na bakuna [so that we will not depend on imported vaccines]," he added.

The Philippines is currently facing a surge in COVID-19 cases with 115,495 active ones so far — a figure reached after a record-setting 10,016 new infections reported on March 29.

The Philippine government has also imposed varying lockdowns to prevent COVID-19 transmission for the past year, and such lockdown preventing non-essential trips and non-essential services from operating is still in effect in Metro Manila and adjacent provinces one year after.

The Philippines started its COVID-19 vaccination program last March 1, but the Philippines has only 2,525,600 doses of COVID-19 vaccine supply thus far from Sinovac and AstraZeneca.

Of the 2,525,600 doses, 1,525,600 were donated by China (Sinovac) and COVAX facility (AstraZeneca) while one million doses of Sinovac were paid for by the national government.

The rest of the vaccine supply is expected to arrive in the second and third quarter of the year.  —KBK, GMA News

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