The deployment of COVID-19 vaccines has been slightly delayed due to quality control, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Wednesday.
Roque made the response after Manila Mayor Isko Moreno called out what he described as a snail-paced distribution of COVID-19 vaccines even though Manila is one of the priority areas for vaccination due to the high incidence of COVID-19 cases there.
Moreno said his city only received 8,400 doses of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines which arrived last April, and that Manila has yet to receive its allocation from the two million doses of AstraZeneca and 193,050 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines which were delivered to the country last May 8 and May 10, respectively.
“Alam ninyo po iyong pagkaantala ay dahil mayroon po silang pinapa-process na certificate of analysis na kinakailangan. Lalung-lalo na sa Sinovac, magkaroon ng pag-aaral para makita kung parehas ng quality iyong ibang mga dumating sa atin,” Roque said in an interview with state-run PTV-4.
(The delay is due to the processing of certificate of analysis, especially for Sinovac which is subjected to a study to evaluate if the quality is of the same standard compared with other vaccines which arrived here.)
“So, iyon po ang dahilan kung bakit hindi mai-deliver kaagad. Pero matapos na makuha itong certificate of analysis na ito ay diri-diretso na po iyong pagdi-distribute niyan dahil ang nais nga po natin sa lalong madaling panahon, lalung-lalo na dito sa NCR Plus, ay upang mabakunahan ang pinakamaraming mga kababayan natin,” Roque added.
(So that is the reason why the delivery [to local government units] has been delayed. But after the certificate of analysis is issued, the vaccines will be distributed to the areas in need as soon as possible, especially here in NCR Plus so we can vaccinate our people.)
NCR Plus includes Metro Manila and nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal and Laguna where there is high concentration of COVID-19 cases.
The two million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines donated by global initiative COVAX facility which arrived in the country last May 8 are set to expire in June and July, making speeding up vaccine deployment imperative.
The Philippines has administered at least two million doses out of its around seven million doses of COVID-19 vaccine supply so far based on government records.
At least 70% of the Philippines' 110 million population need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19, according to the Department of Health. —KG, GMA News