By: Elena Grace Flores
YouTube Video by Imee Marcos
Senator Imee Marcos’interview with Oscar Pasaporte on ‘Padayon Pilipino’ DYKC Radio Ronda Cebu
Not Wno’s First but the Budget
Senator Imee Marcos said that it is safe to take the Coronavirus vaccine by the time it reaches the Philippines. Only 20% of the remaining products are available for Asia. The question is the budget. 80% are already bought by rich countries. “We can buy AstraZeneca’s vaccine at only US$2.50 per dose, half the price announced by government negotiators. The Swedish pharmaceutical firm and Oxford University already decided to sell their vaccine at cost and for as long as needed by less developed countries,” Senator Imee Marcos said.
Marcos issued the statement after the government, local corporate donors, and AstraZeneca signed a purchase agreement to acquire 2.6 million doses of the vaccine for about Php600 million, or about $5 per dose. Marcos added that subsequent purchases of the same vaccine should cost less because the Philippines is also among the 92 low and lower-middle income countries that will benefit from international donor-funded vaccines under the global initiative known as the COVAX Advance Market Commitment facility.
Immediate Funds Needed
The challenge among Senators now is not who’s taking it first. But to get enough budget for the majority of the population. The frontliners, vulnerable communities, and those who cannot afford to buy must be under government subsidy. The rest should purchase their vaccine of choice. Senators are basically not the priority but they can serve as examples to give confidence to the people. Besides, by the time they arrive in the Phiippines, the first world countries are already immune. So, that should assure Filipinos that the vaccines are safe.