Villanueva seeks gov’t contingency plans for vaccination price fluctuations
Senator Joel Villanueva today proposed developing contingency plans in the near term for price fluctuations of vaccines amid a report that some vaccine manufacturers intend to hike prices of COVID-19 jabs.
During the Senate Committee of the Whole hearing on the Philippines’ pandemic response, Villanueva said there should be preparations for price changes and for long-term response to the pandemic.
“Napakahalaga po na magkaroon tayo ng foresight to prepare our budget,” Villanueva said.
In reply to Villanueva, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, said it was difficult to prepare plans for COVID-19 because “we don’t know everything yet about this virus.”
“It’s not like planning a road,” Dominguez said at the hearing.
“Napakahalaga po na magkaroon tayo ng foresight to prepare our budget.”
But Villanueva said preparing for contingencies would be possible if scenarios were laid out ahead.
“Just like the good secretary said, this is now ‘endemic’, meaning it could be with us for another year or two years,” Villanueva said.
He said the government should also start preparing to be self-reliant in vaccine production by conducting studies about the possibility.
“There should be investment to jumpstart local manufacturing and cover infrastructure costs for developing and producing our own vaccine and booster,” Villanueva said.
“We call for movements from relevant government agencies to study this,” the senator said.