Duterte orders officials to administer Pfizer doses to poor Filipinos

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 20)— President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered government officials to administer the sought-after Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to poor Filipinos.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque revealed this in a media briefing on Thursday, noting the directive is in line with the prioritization rule of the COVAX facility, which donated the prized American-made vaccine.

Ipinag-utos rin po ng Pangulo na ibigay ang Pfizer sa mga mahihirap or sa indigent population dahil iyan po ang patakaran ng COVAX,” Roque told reporters. “Inatasan niya ang vaccine czar, Secretary Carlito Galvez, na siguraduhing maipatupad ang kautusang ito.”

“Ito ay ayon na rin sa naging unang direktiba ng Pangulo na mababakunahan ang mga Pilipino nang libre; walang maiiwan,” he added.

[Translation: The President ordered to give the Pfizer to the poor or the indigent population because that’s the rule of COVAX. He ordered vaccine czar Carlito Galvez to make sure this order will be carried out. This is also in line with the President’s first directive that all Filipinos will be vaccinated for free, no one will be left behind.]

Duterte also ordered the Pfizer doses to be distributed not in the malls, but in barangay vaccination sites where the take-up is low, Roque noted.

Roque, however, did not detail when the President's order will start.

The Philippines earlier this month received some 193,000 Pfizer doses, which have been rolled out in some major cities in the country including in Metro Manila.

Galvez also previously said the country would be getting a bulk shipment of Pfizer — around 2.2 million doses — by the end of May.

‘Duterte’s order not to disclose vaccine brand’

Meanwhile, Roque also revealed that it was the chief executive who suggested for the government not to disclose the brand that will be used in the inoculation drive — a proposal that has been widely criticized online.

READ: Ex-IATF adviser against non-disclosure of brand before going to vaccination sites

Unang-una, si Presidente po ang nag-utos niyan dahil nakita nga po niya iyong kawalan ng social distancing doon sa ilang lugar kung saan in-announce ang pagbabakuna ng Pfizer,” Roque said.

[Translation: First of all, it was the President who ordered this because he saw the lack of social distancing in that site where it was announced that Pfizer would be used.]

Roque likewise stressed that all vaccines approved for use in the Philippines underwent thorough review.

Lahat po iyan ligtas at epektibo,” he assured. “Kaya nga po ang pinakamabuting bakuna iyong ilalagay sa inyong mga braso.”

[Translation: Those are all safe and effective. That’s why the best vaccine is the one that you will get injected with.]