President of Philippines orders probe over vaccine queue jumping

Philippines; Coronavirus; Vaccine

The Philippine president has ordered at least nine city and town mayors investigated for possible charges after they reportedly jumped ahead of a priority list led by 1.7 million health workers and got injected with Covid-19 vaccine amid a shortage in supply.

President Rodrigo Duterte said in a televised meeting with key Cabinet members that aside from the mayors, the son of an actress also got immunised.

He expressed fears that the Philippines may lose the chance to get more donated vaccines arranged by the World Health Organisation if its conditions would continue to be violated.

“We were told by the WHO country representative, ‘If you do not follow the list of priority, you might lose the assistance of the WHO’,” Mr Duterte said.

“It wasn’t followed because I heard even the son of an actress got it.

“It’s always the favoured few.”

The country’s health secretary Francisco Duque III reported to Mr Duterte that just slightly more than 508,000 of a total 1.7 million doctors, nurses and other health workers have been immunised and added that only 1.5 million vaccine doses, all donated by China and the WHO, have arrived in the country so far.

The government programme to inoculate about 70 million adult Filipinos has faced delays, supply problems, public hesitancy and widespread criticism.

After health workers, the next in line of priority include elderly Filipinos and people with non-Covid-19 illnesses like diabetes and the poor.

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