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DOH launches 'vaccine tracker' following questions regarding deployment status

By Bim Santos Published Mar 22, 2021 11:06 pm

The Department of Health (DOH) has launched a website to show the progress of vaccine deployment in the country, days after some lawmakers questioned where the vaccines are now following the billions in approved outlays.

The website shows where the various vaccines are currently, tracking the stages from pre-clinical testing to the emergency use approval of the Food and Drug Administration. It also features some frequently asked questions regarding the vaccines and the timeline of the rollout.

The website, however, does not have a detailed tracking of procurement and the money trail with respect to how the approved loans for the COVID-19 vaccines are right now.

The question regarding the status of vaccines was raised by Sen. Panfilo Lacson recently in a tweet, where he outlined the total budget for vaccine procurement and asked, “Nasaan ka bakuna?”

Sen. Risa Hontiveros retweeted Lacson’s tweet and posed her own question.

“Natigil na ang test,trace & isolate. Tumataas na naman ang mga kaso. Wala pang mga bakuna. Parang di naman nagamit. Reiterating my call for a special audit,” said Hontiveros.

In the press briefing today with President Rodrigo Duterte, Finance Sec. Carlos Dominguez said he already wrote a letter of explanation to the entire Senate regarding the question of vaccine financing.

Dominguez said that the entire allocated budget for the COVID-19 vaccines remain in the bank pending the delivery of the jabs.

“We will only withdraw when we pay. Why should we hold the money?” Dominguez said.

Duterte also said that they do not have a centavo on their hand.

“If your mind is afraid of corruption, let your mind go easy because this thing is not susceptible to anything,” Duterte said.

Of the P82.5 billion budget for the COVID-19 vaccines alloted to cover 55% of the population, the Department of Finance said that it has P75 billion “in place.”

P70 billion out of the total budget will be sourced from loans from multilateral lenders, while P2.5 billion forms part of the Health department’s 2021 budget, and P10 billion will come from funds allocated under the Bayanihan Act.