MANILA – National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. on Tuesday said commercialization of coronavirus vaccines is strictly prohibited.
Galvez, also the country’s vaccine czar, made this statement after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered him to sign any document that will allow the private sector to import Covid-19 vaccines.
In a virtual press briefing, Galvez explained that the Covid-19 vaccines with emergency use authorization (EUA) are only limited for consumption during the pandemic and should not be used for commercialization.
“The government is the one responsible for indemnity and with that, commercialization of the vaccines is strictly not allowed until the time of this pandemic,” Galvez said. “They should not have a profit on this.”
He clarified that Duterte’s directive is only to hasten the process of allowing the private sector to procure Covid-19 vaccines on their own through a tripartite agreement with the national government and pharmaceutical companies.
“Iyon po ang kanyang directive na dapat walang delay para at least wala pong perceived na kino-control nating ‘yun tinatawag nating procurement (His directive was to prevent delays so that it will not be perceived that we are controlling the procurement),” Galvez said, adding that the government is not monopolizing the vaccine procurement.
Galvez said the government and the private sector have agreed to respect the World Health Organization (WHO) Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) prioritization guidelines.
He said the private sector will present their plans on vaccine deployment and the inoculation of their employees.
The private sector must adhere to the criteria set by the National Immunization Technical Advisory Groups (NITAG) and the Department of Health (DOH) during the inoculation of their employees, he added.
“Even iyong sa 2.6 million na darating na AstraZeneca, the private sector will present to the NITAG iyong tinatawag nating deployment ng mga vaccine (Even the 2.6 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine that will arrive, the private sector will present to the NITAG the so-called deployment of the vaccines),” he said.
Galvez said the government will give leeway to the private companies to import and purchase Covid-19 vaccines and will provide them with easier access and clearance to the Bureau of Customs.
“It will be tax-free and custom-free so that it will have easy clearing from customs,” he said.
The official earlier cited the significant role of the private sector in the acquisition of safe and effective anti-Covid vaccines. (PNA)