President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday stressed that the Philippines cannot afford to waste time or resources in the distribution of 600,000 doses Sinovac vaccines.
“I cannot stress [this] enough: we cannot afford to waste time or resources in the distribution of these vaccines because we are dealing with precious lives,” the President said in his speech after he personally witnessed the arrival of the China-made vaccines at Villamor Airbase past 4 p.m. Sunday.
Duterte directed all concerned agencies to institutionalize the whole-of-government approach in its rollout.
At the same time, Duterte reiterated his position that the COVID vaccines should be treated as a global public good and must be available to both the rich and poor.
“No nation – no people – should be left to suffer the ravages of this pandemic for whatever reason,” Duterte added.
Duterte added that countries must continue working together and do everything humanly possible to ensure a good outcome for every person.
“Comprehensive global recovery hinges on equal and easy access by everyone to life-saving vaccines. Because, at the end of the day, as repeatedly said, no one is safe until everyone is safe,” he noted.
The President was also confident that more batches of vaccines will soon be available until every Filipino is inoculated.
“I wish to assure the public that your government remains committed to a timely [vaccine] roll out that will enable us to confidently reopen our society. The delivery of this first batch, I hope, will serve as a guarantee to everyone that we are taking a big step in our efforts to overcome this health crisis,” he said.
Duterte was also hopeful that with the vaccines now ready for the rollout, the country would finally defeat the virus.
“Today, we make another step [forward] in our ongoing fight against COVID-19, as we receive 600,000 CoronaVac doses from the People’s Republic of China. I convey my sincere gratitude to the Chinese people and the government of China for this gesture of friendship and solidarity – the hallmark of the Philippines-China partnership,” Duterte said.