Locsin secures US Secretary of State Pompeo’s help in ‘getting back’ Pfizer vaccines

Image courtesy of CNN PHILIPPINES

Metro Manila, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin, Jr. said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has committed to help the Philippines secure COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer following an allegedly bungled deal.

This was among the topics discussed by the two officials during their “great phone conversation” Friday night, Locsin disclosed in a tweet on Saturday.

“Mike there’s one thing I really need from you, I need you to give a second try, give me a second try on 10 million doses of Pfizer that was put inside the basketball, and the ball was dropped.”

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin, Jr. said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

“I asked him to help Babe (Philippine Ambassador to Washington Jose Manuel Romualdez) and I get back even a fraction of the 10 million doses of Pfizer after someone dropped the ball. He’ll give it his best try,” Locsin said.

Locsin maintained that “someone dropped the ball” in initial talks brokered by him, Romualdez, and Pompeo which would have secured the arrival of 10 million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines by January 2021.

Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson accused Health Secretary Francisco Duque III of failing to sign the confidential disclosure agreement on time, botching the deal. ​However, the Health chief told CNN Philippines’ Balitaan that there were no 10 million doses to speak of, claiming that the papers that reached his office only consisted of “generalities” representing the early steps of supply negotiations.

n a media briefing on Saturday, Galvez backed Duque, saying what really delayed the Pfizer negotiations, which began in August, were the “uncertainties” and high logistical requirements.

Talks are at an “advanced” stage now, and a deal will likely be signed this month or by January 2021, Galvez said. By that time, the vaccines should have already arrived in the country had the supposed initial deal remained on schedule.

Galvez said the government is still waiting for information on how many doses Pfizer can supply. But Romualdez said this will probably involve 5 million doses — only half of the initial plan.

He added that the arrival of the vaccine will most likely be delayed to June because other nations, including Singapore, were able to finalize deals earlier than the Philippines.

Aside from the US, Galvez said other countries like China, Russia, and India have expressed willingness to grant the Philippines access to vaccines once available. The country has so far secured 2.6 million doses from United Kingdom-based drug firm AstraZeneca through a private sector donation.


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