Palace admits no equitable distribution of vaccine due to supply insufficiency
Malacanang admitted on Thursday there is no equitable distribution of vaccines against coronavirus disease among the provinces and cities in the country due to still limited supply.
But Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, in a press briefing, expressed optimism that it will still be a "better Christmas" as more Filipinos are expected to be vaccinated.
"The truth is, the vaccines right now are not sufficient. Our people are saying that the vaccines are not enough. Yes, there are more, sometimes, given to Metro Manila Plus 8 (not) only because of higher cases there, but also of the higher population. But it is never enough as of now," he told the people in Iloilo City where his press briefing was held.
The Plus 8 areas include Bulacan, Pampanga, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao.
Roque told residents in Iloilo City vaccine supply is not only insufficient in the area, but in the whole Philippines.
"We ask your indulgence because, unfortunately, we do not manufacture the vaccines. We really have scarcity of supply worldwide," Roque said.
He said the government apologizes because it is the reality.
"We cannot do anything," he said.
Roque said if the Philippines had waited for the vaccines being manufactured by western companies, it could not have successfully vaccinated yet the over 10 million individuals.
"So, I ask for patience to my fellow Ilonggos. We're not the only one complaining about the lack of vaccine, it's the whole Philippines because right now, only less than 20 million doses of vaccines have arrived in our country," he explained.
But Roque said the Palace is hopeful that the supply will soon increase as the rich countries, which were able to corner most of the vaccines are almost finished with their vaccination program.
The spokesman cited the case of the United States, which is expected to declare independence from COVID-19 on July 4.
He noted that the Philippines was able to order 40 million doses of Pfizer vaccine.
With the arrival of more vaccines in the coming months, Roque said, "we are still confident for a better Christmas''.
"We have exceeded the 10-million mark for vaccination. We have managed the COVID cases in Metro Manila Plus 8, which became the epicenter of COVID-19. There are more areas now under MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine), but population-wise, the population is not as great as when the numbers were so high or at its peak here in Metro Manila Plus 8," he said.
"And we are confident that with more supplies of the vaccine come in, more will be given protection and we can move towards containment and a better Christmas this year," Roque added. Celerina Monte/DMS