Duterte says gov't should have money to be spent once coronavirus vaccine is available
President Rodrigo Duterte said the government has to have money so that when there is a vaccine against coronavirus disease, the Philippines could purchase it immediately.
In a televised meeting with some members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on Tuesday night, Duterte noted that various countries have been trying to develop the vaccine against COVID-19.
He cited Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine, which reportedly had positive early results and if future studies go well, could be available to the public as early as January next year.
"Many countries are on the verge of - they are getting near to the vaccine. They are competing. But judging from the time the COVID started up to now, I'm sure that they have made a lot of progress in finding the vaccine...we should have money so that we can purchase immediately," he said.
Once there is a vaccine, Duterte said the government could borrow money to buy the medicine.
Since Moderna, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, could only make available the vaccine by January, Duterte, in jest, told Filipinos to hold on and not to succumb to death.
"So, don't die until January. Wait for the vaccine," the President said.
"That is what I (am) really hoping for, the vaccine...it's really the vaccine that can really fight the infection," he said.
Duterte reiterated his call to the public to avoid going out if not necessary, to wear mask, to cover mouths when coughing, and to follow other proper hygiene to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Even if there is already a vaccine, he said, "The corona (virus) will not disappear. It is here for all time."
As of Wednesday afternoon, the Department of Health said the Philippines has 13,221 COVID-19 cases, with 2,932 recoveries and 842 deaths. Celerina Monte/DMS