DOH: No favoritism in allocation of Pfizer COVID-19 jabs

DOH: No favoritism in allocation of Pfizer COVID-19 jabs

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health said there is no favoritism in the allocation of COVID-19 vaccines, denying allegations that Davao City received the lion’s share of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses delivered to the Philippines.

In a briefing Monday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the national government allocates jabs based on the needs of an area and the prioritization framework.

“There are no favorites,” Vergeire said.

Health Undersecretary Abdullah Dumama Jr., who leads the field implementation and coordination team in Visayas and Mindanao, said Cebu and Davao each received 210,000 Pfizer vaccine doses.

“This is not for Davao City only. This is also for the Davao region and nearby areas that need Pfizer vaccines,” Dumama said in Filipino.

“They were given that allocation because they have the capability. We have ultra-low temperature freezers here… There is no favoritism here,” he added.

Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines need to be stored at around -70°C to -80°C.

Only five regions have yet to use Pfizer jabs in their vaccination program due to the lack of ultra-low freezers, Vergeire said. These are Mimaropa, Bicol region, Soccsksargen, Caraga and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Dumama said the Bangsamoro government is expected to pass a resolution that will allow the region to procure ultra-low freezers.

The Philippines has so far received over 2.4 million Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX facility.

The government announced Sunday it has signed a supply deal for 40 million doses of the Pfizer jab, which is the country’s biggest coronavirus vaccine agreement to date. — Gaea Katreena Cabico