Late COVID-19 vaccination in PH ‘blessing in disguise,’ says Sotto

 By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Rappler

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Saturday the Philippines may be left behind other countries in coronavirus vaccine rollout but this may be a ‘blessing in disguise’ as the country is learning from other nations that started earlier inoculation.

Sotto made the statement as while senators expressed dismay over delays of securing vaccine doses, this may give Filipinos a benefit as the government learning from other nations’ mistakes.

“As it turns out, this may show how God truly loves the Philippines because while we may have been delayed [in our vaccine rollout], it may have been a blessing in disguise,” Sotto said.

Sotto cited how countries have begun their vaccine rollouts even they had to suddenly implement restrictions due to resurgence of infections.

“It was like God purposely wanted the scalawags in our country to commit those mistakes and cause delays, but this is also how our country is learning for the benefit of our people,” he said.

The Senate leader said the committee of the whole is now preparing for the report, which is set for approval by first week of February.

He also expressed confidence on the hearings that sufficiently covered all vaccination program issues, and even doused the suspicion of lawmakers over program execution.

Sotto conceded that the hearings showed how some quarters might have attempted to overprice the vaccine.

“It [the attempt to overprice the vaccine] was possible if the opportunity presented itself; but even Senator Lacson assured us that Secretary Galvez would not be involved in it,” the Senate president said, referring to National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief Carlito Galvez Jr.

The lawmaker said he was convinced after Galvez confided to him and to three other senators with the status of government’s negotiations, including the nondisclosure agreements the officials signed with pharmaceutical companies.

“We were shown the true price, and we were also given the assurance that they will reveal every detail of the negotiations once this is concluded,” Sotto said.

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