The Philippine government has dropped the ball again, said Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., but this time, on a deal that involved syringes that are currently on a shortage globally.
“We dropped the ball again; this time, offer of 50 million syringes,” Locsin said in a tweet on Saturday, December 11.
“Discussed the need in Washington DC and got a response. [I] prepared to go into details with [Philippine] agencies, but they refused to discuss the ball, let alone catch it. First Pfizer, then Moderna. Ok, I see the pattern,” he said.
He did not discuss further details nor reply to questions about his tweet.
In November, the World Health Organization already warned that there could be a shortfall of 1 to 2 billion syringes in 2022, which could “paralyze” nations’ vaccination progress.
The Philippine government had to adjust its target for the three-day national vaccination drive to 9 million from the earlier 15 million in November, in part due to a shortage in syringes – particularly those for Pfizer doses that require a volume of 0.3 milliliter.
The National Task Force Against COVID-19 has also said that scheduled shipments had been delayed due to the global shortage.
Locsin also appeared to fault Philippine government agencies in his tweet, alluding to a “pattern” of dropping the ball.
In December 2020, Locsin said that “somebody” in government “dropped the ball” on getting 10 million doses of Pfizer at a time when the Philippines struggled to secure enough doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
The Philippines’ vaccination drive against COVID-19 officially started in March using Sinovac doses. – Rappler.com