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Duterte says LGUs free to choose any COVID-19 vaccine: Wala kaming paki

MJ Blancaflor

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President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said the national government will not tie down mayors and governors in choosing Covid-19 vaccine brands for their constituents.

In a televised briefing, Duterte said it is up to local chief executives to choose from several brands of vaccines available in the market and approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

“I am now addressing myself to the mayors and governors: You can choose any vaccine you like to buy,” Duterte said in a televised meeting with pandemic task force members.

“Wala kaming pakialam kung ano ang pipiliin ninyo. That’s one thing. Hindi kami makialam sa lahat ng bagay in the purchase,” he added.

He also said no local executive is forced to adopt the vaccines patronized by the national government.

His remarks came after successive deals forged by local government units with British-Swedish pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, in an effort to secure thousands of vaccine doses for their constituents.

Among them were Caloocan City, Pasig City, San Juan City, and Valenzuela City.

Duterte allowed local government units to enter into tripartite agreements with the national government and vaccine manufacturers so that they can purchase Covid-19 vaccines for their constituents who are not part of the priority sectors identified by the health department.

Under the vaccination plan of the national government, health workers, senior citizens, indigent population, and uniformed personnel in areas with high cases of Covid-19 will be given priority for the free vaccines.

The government aims to vaccinate up to 70 million Filipinos to attain herd immunity against the respiratory illness.

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