Government incompetence responsible for delays in vaccine arrivals — media

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CHEERS TO Inquirer and Rappler for not letting pass government’s excuse for the delay of the vaccine roll out which presidential spokesperson Harry Roque hyped as a fitting Valentine’s gift for Filipinos, scheduled as it was to arrive mid-February.

When Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines from COVAX did not arrive as scheduled, media promptly pointed out that the country tailed all the Southeast Asian countries in making vaccines available to the people. Government’s excuse was the belated requirement of COVAX and pharmaceutical companies for legislation of an indemnity fund, which officials were not informed about, according to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.

Two media organizations were quick enough to reject the excuse. The Inquirer cited publicly available documents which showed this requirement was known as early as November 2020, and said that vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. did not raise the matter when he testified in congressional hearings late last year. Rappler detailed how government failed to bring this up early enough, adding that even with an indemnity law passed, government will still have to sign supply agreements to facilitate the purchase and payment of vaccines.

The incompetence was out there, embarrassing to all concerned. And yet only the Inquirer and Rappler were ready to call out government’s failed implementation of its own announced plan, which was to give the public, especially frontliners, the vaccine they were promised.