By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Manila Bulletin

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Thursday said President Rodrigo Duterte is not holding anyone accountable over delay in coronavirus vaccine rollout.

Nograles said this as Duterte is on belief that government officials are doing their part to procure vaccines.

He said the Chief Executive understands the Philippines is only at “receiving end” of vaccine doses, and it is the responsibility and obligation of pharmaceutical giants for anti-COVID jab shipment.

When asked during the online press briefing if Duterte is holding anyone accountable regarding the matter, Nograles said: “Si Pangulo also understands na we are at the receiving end of these vaccines, ginagawa naman natin ang lahat ng kinakailangan natin based on the requirements being asked of us.”

“But at the end of the day, it’s the vaccine manufacturers’ obligation and responsibility to ship it to us at the time that it has promised,” Nograles added.

The government’s inoculation campaign was supposed to begin in mid-February with the delivery of batch containing 117,000 doses from American pharmaceutical firm Pfizer-BioNTech. The delivery, however, was delayed due to processing of paperworks.

600,000 doses from Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac, meanwhile, were supposed to arrive on February 23 but also delayed as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had only granted an emergency use authorization.

The arrival of vaccines from British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca were also facing delay due to complications of production.

Around 5.5 million doses to 9.2 million doses are expected from AstraZeneca, whose initial delivery is scheduled by mid to late February.

Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier asked for more patience amid the delay in the arrival of Covid-19 vaccines, admitting that the Philippines is lagging behind some countries which have already started vaccinating its citizens.

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