No hold up of vax for private sector: Galvez - TrueID

No hold up of vax for private sector: Galvez

Philippine News AgencyJuly 7, 2021

National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19 Chief Implementer and vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. (PNA file photo)

MANILA – National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19 Chief Implementer, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr, on Wednesday said the hounding issue circulating online that the government is holding up vaccine supply intended for the private sector is "untrue."

Galvez, also the vaccine czar, said the Philippines has secured a total of 20 million doses of Moderna vaccines, with 13 million of them procured by the government and 7 million doses purchased by various private companies, pooled through the International Container Terminal Services, Inc (ICTSI).

Some 249,600 doses initially delivered last June, he said, were part of the 13 million doses purchased by the government.

While, the private sector-procured vaccines, through a separate supply agreement with the Moderna company, are tentatively scheduled to arrive within the third quarter of this year.

"However, due to the Philippines’ strong bilateral ties with the United States, we were able to request Moderna to allocate a portion of their first delivery to the private sector. It was then agreed that 49,600 doses from the first shipment will be given to them," Galvez explained in a statement.

The NTF, he said, even decided to augment the private sector's allocation of up to 50,000 doses, keeping only 150,000 doses for the use of the national government.

The private sector received a total of 99,600 doses of Moderna vaccines in June.

"This is why we find it disconcerting that the NTF and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases are being accused of holding the vaccine supply procured by the private sector. This issue, which has been circulating online, is clearly peddled by malicious individuals who wish to undermine the country’s vaccine rollout," he said.

Galvez said the accusation is "clearly unfounded, unfair and farthest from the truth."

Citing the strong collaboration between the government and the private sector, Galvez said the lone goal is to ensure a successful vaccination rollout nationwide.

"We would like to emphasize that even before the vaccine rollout, the national government and the private sector have been working hand-in-hand to ensure that we will be able to get these life-saving vaccines into the arms of as many Filipinos as possible," he said. "We understand the importance and urgency of inoculating our essential workers and economic front-liners. This is why we opened the vaccination program for this sector as early as June 7.”

Galvez said the move to augment the private sector's vaccine supply is intended to scale up the nationwide vaccine rollout, as more companies have expressed readiness to activate their respective mega vaccination hubs, which could further hasten the inoculation program.

Over 1 million economic workers vaccinated

To date, over 1 million individuals belonging to the A4 priority groups or economic workers have received Covid-19 vaccine shots, he said.

"This is the beauty of collaboration and cooperation – the private sector provided the vaccination facilities for their employees while the national government supplied them with the needed vaccines," said Galvez, assuring that the partnership would continue until the vaccine supply for the private sector becomes stable.

He lamented that the vaccine shipments procured by both government and the private sector are coming in tranches, hence, "there is no definite quantity specified per batch as this can be affected by other factors such as production and logistics."

With the limited vaccine supply, Galvez urged the private sector to utilize the initial doses for their employees belonging to the prioritization list for the inoculation program such as healthcare workers, senior citizens, persons with comorbidities, and employees needing physical presence at work.

"We at the NTF are committed to fast track the deployment and administration of the vaccines procured by the national government, the local government units, and the private sector to ensure that we will be able to realize our goal of achieving population protection within this year and have a better Christmas," he said.

No ads in vaccination sites

Meanwhile, Galvez called on political groups to refrain from posting political advertisements within the vaccination sites.

He said such moves may be misinterpreted "as political agenda to further personal interest" by the public.

"The National Task Force Against Covid-19 recognizes the efforts of individuals and groups in helping to ramp up the implementation of our National Vaccination Program thru public awareness to lessen vaccine hesitancy. However, we would like to remind them to restrain themselves and refrain from posting ads in vaccination sites," Galvez said in a separate statement.

Galvez said the vaccination centers, whether established by the national government, local governments, or the private sector, should be utilized solely for the inoculation program.

"We would like to emphasize that no individual or organization can take credit for the National Vaccination Program because it is the product of a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach," he said.

He said they are now working closely with the Department of the Interior and Local Government to look into vaccination centers reportedly used as political machinery.

"This program should not be politicized in any way because its main objectives are to protect our people against the disease, save lives, and bring a greater sense of normalcy to our people as we revive our economy," he added.

Galvez urged politicians to stop taking advantage of the vaccination program for their personal interests.

"May this serve as a reminder to those who may have the intention of using our vaccine program for their political gain to stop such acts, and instead use their time, energy, and resources to help convince our fellow Filipinos to get the jab," he said. (PNA)

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