Nograles on vaccine delivery: PH complying with requirements, now up to manufacturers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 23) — The Philippines has been doing everything asked and required of it regarding COVID-19 vaccine delivery, so it is ultimately the job of vaccine manufacturers to ship the doses on the schedule agreed upon, a Palace official said Tuesday.

“[A]the end of the day, it’s really the vaccine manufacturers’ obligation, responsibility to ship it to us at a time that was promised,” Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said in a virtual briefing. “As far as we’re concerned, lahat naman ng kailangan gawin at ma-comply ay nac-comply naman po natin.”

[Translation: As far as we’re concerned, we're able to comply with everything we need to do.]

That was Nograles' response when asked whether President Rodrigo Duterte is holding anyone accountable for delays in the arrival of vaccines. He also noted that the chief executive understands the country is only at the receiving end of these shipments.

RELATED: PH sends indemnity deal to COVAX for Pfizer, AstraZeneca doses 

Delays have hounded the delivery of vaccine doses by Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Sinovac to the Philippines.

A week ago, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. cited Pfizer’s concerns on indenmnification and “complications” regarding AstraZeneca’s global manufacturing. Meanwhile, the Palace warned also last week that Sinovac’s shipments might be delayed in the absence of emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration at the time.

The FDA eventually issued the EUA on Monday, with the Chinese vaccine maker asking for three to five days from the authorization's issuance to prepare for delivery.

Given the recent development, the doses from Sinovac are expected to arrive within February if not the first week of March, Nograles said.

“Of course we’re also waiting for the Pfizer and AstraZeneca shipments to arrive, so may chance na magkasabay-sabay yung tatlong brand,” he added.

However, if a brand arrives ahead of the others, it will be rolled out first. The same shall apply for brands that will arrive next, added Nograles.

President Rodrigo Duterte has decided against placing the entire country under modified general community quarantine pending the start of the government’s vaccine rollout. The National Economic and Development Authority earlier proposed the lowest community quarantine status for the whole Philippines by March, citing the need to recuperate from huge economic losses.

Nograles said the chief executive might reconsider declaring a nationwide MGCQ once he sees vaccination efforts begin.

RELATED: Economic team must work to safely reopen economy further within GCQ framework — Nograles