Admitting that he finds the government’s vaccine procurement “too slow”, Senator Manny Pacquiao on Monday disclosed that he asked the United States (US), through a letter addressed to President Joe Biden, to expedite the delivery of Moderna Covid-19 vaccines in the Philippines.
Betting on his popularity as a boxing world champion, Pacquiao said he sent the letter in hopes for earlier release of the vaccines ahead of its original schedule of June 2021.
The senator said that if the US permits, he would like the jabs to arrive within this month.
“To speak frankly, I wrote the letter because I feel that the delivery of vaccines here is slow. Other countries are already rolling out massive vaccination programs,” the senator told reporters during a virtual press briefing.
The White House is yet to respond to his letter but Pacquiao said he is seeking to establish a “direct line” of communication to Biden.
“We’re trying to have a direct line with U.S. President Biden. That is what we are currently working on,” he added.
In his letter dated 10 April, the sportsman-turned-politician appealed to Biden to facilitate the immediate release of 20 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines that the Philippine government secured in partnership with the private sector.
He cited the recent spike in coronavirus infections for his request.
“On behalf of all Filipinos and the Filipino-American community, I humbly ask for the generous help of your government to intervene for the early delivery of the Moderna vaccines. For humanitarian reasons, we hope that this matter will merit your prompt attention and action,” he said.
John C. Law, chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Manila, answered his letter on 22 April saying that the embassy is ready to assist those who need help in obtaining the vaccines.