Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Monday said that the government is exploring multiple sources of COVID-19 vaccines to ensure access of Filipinos to safe and effective vaccines to overcome the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.


Go, chairman of the Senate Health and Demography Committee, stated that the private sector has also been raising funds to assist the country in acquiring sufficient numbers of vaccines for Filipinos. 

He also said that the country is aiming to finalize its negotiations with Sinovac Biotech to acquire 25 million doses of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine for delivery by March next year. 

The senator from Davao said that vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. is at present in advanced discussions with the vaccine company to strike a deal that will be beneficial to the country’s fight against COVID-19. 

“Ngayon, marami na pong kinakausap ang ating vaccine czar. Meron na silang advanced discussion sa Sinovac, possible shipment March, 2021, twenty five million doses,’’ Go said. (Our vaccine czar is currently talking to several possible sources. He has an advanced discussion with Sinovac, and the possible shipment of twenty five million doses in March, 2021.)

Go said that he does not believe that the procurement of vaccines from Chinese company Sinovac has anything to do with preference, stressing that market availability is the primary consideration of the government for conducting negotiations with the company for the vaccines. 

He said that Galvez is also in talks with several other vaccine companies that could supply the country with the COVID-19 vaccines. 

“Nakapag-usap na rin sila sa Gamaleya, ongoing talks, ‘di pa masabi kung kelan. Pfizer po, advanced discussion. Johnson & Johnson,’’ he explained. (There are ongoing talks with Gamaleya and an advanced discussion with Pfizer. For Johnson & Johnson, the (confidentiality disclosure agreement) is being finalized, AstraZeneca, for another twenty million.)

“Siguraduhin nating priority ang mahihirap, vulnerable, at frontliners, safe and effective dapat, saan man ito kukunin,’’ he added. (Let us prioritize the poor, vulnerable, and frontliners. We should also ensure that the vaccines are safe and effective regardless of the source.)

Go urged Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III and vaccine czar Galvez to inject themselves first with the vaccine to allay the fears of some people and build their confidence on its safety and efficacy.

“(This is) to encourage naman po at mawala ang takot ng mga tao, pero dapat unahin natin ang poor, vulnerable, and frontliners, of course. Sila ang nangunguna sa labang ito — sundalo, guro, medical workers. Huwag rin natin pabayaan ang mga senior citizens natin na vulnerable, especially ang mga mahihirap na kailangan lumabas at magtrabaho — dapat po libre ito sa mahihirap,’’ Go said. (This is to encourage and to allay the fears of the people, but we have to prioritize the poor, vulnerable and the frontliners, such as the soldiers, teachers, medical workers. Also, we should not forget our senior citizens and the poor who need to go out and workit should be provided for free to the poor.

Go had earlier said that a national vaccine roadmap has already been prepared for a systematic distribution of the vaccine once it is deemed safe and effective. He encouraged concerned agencies to properly communicate and implement the vaccine program to assure the public that the government is doing its best to restore normalcy amid the ongoing pandemic. 

As for government officials and those who can afford it, Go said that many of them are willing to pay for their own vaccinations as long as it is proven safe and effective. 

Source: Manila Bulletin (