Go wants proper planning of COVID-19 vaccine for poor
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - August 3, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) and other concerned agencies must thoroughly prepare for the coronavirus disease 2019 mass inoculation program to ensure the accessibility and affordability of the vaccine, especially to the poor, Sen. Bong Go said yesterday.

Go stressed that once a vaccine is available, no one should be left behind when it comes to access, adding that the most vulnerable sectors must be prioritized.

“Let’s not neglect the poor. Let’s prepare for (mass vaccination) this early. Let’s set aside budget so that the government can help those who need (the vaccine) most. Let’s have a plan where everyone has an equal opportunity to be vaccinated, not just the rich,” he said.

In an address to the people last Friday, President Duterte said the Philippines would likely get COVID-19 vaccines first from China, as he noted that development of various vaccines is also underway.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III also said the Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC) would help in the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines.

Dominguez explained that the country may need to vaccinate for free a minimum of 20 million people.

He added that the government would have to spend at least $400 million or P20 billion for one to two shots of the vaccine at around $10 per dose.

The economy is already beginning to recover from its lowest point last April to May, while inflation is within target and the Philippines is enjoying the strongest currency in the region, according to the finance chief. – Rainier Allan Ronda

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