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Government assures purchase of ‘enough’ Covid jabs to inoculate 92-million Pinoys

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The government is now negotiating the purchase enough doses of Covid-19 vaccines to inoculate 92 million of the population, the Department of Finance (DOF) revealed.

During the public address of President Duterte late Monday evening, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez said the quantity is more than the needed doses to inoculate 70 million adults under the government’s Covid-19 vaccination plan.

This, he said, is in anticipation of the delays from some pharmaceutical companies in delivering their Covid-19 jabs due to high demand in the international market.

Some pharmaceutical companies have already announced delays in the delivery of Covid-19 vaccines in Europe and the US, Dominguez added.

“So to be safe, we are negotiating more than what we need of 70 million. We really expect delays. But the delay is not our fault because we have the money and we are ready. The delay is in the manufacturing,” the finance chief pointed out.

Target beneficiaries

The Department of Health (DOH) earlier said the government needs to vaccinate at least 70 million of the country’s over 100 million population to attain “herd immunity” from Covid-19 infection.

Dominguez, however, said another reason why the remaining 40 million will not be vaccinated is because they belong to the 1 to 18 year age bracket and may be “too young” to get the vaccine.

Chief implementer of the government’s national policy on Covid-19 Carlito G. Galvez said the government is expected to get the first shipment of 3 million Covid-19 vaccines from the American pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, UK’s AstraZeneca, and from the global common vaccine development collaboration by Covax.

Pending supply agreement

The vaccine czar said the arrival of the first batch of the vaccines will allow them to start the “mini rollout” of their inoculation drive using the Covax-sourced vaccine this month, which will prioritize health-care workers.

The bulk of the 106 million to 108 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines secured by the government are not expected by the third and fourth quarter of the year.

Currently, Galvez said they are targeting to finally come out with a supply agreement with the concerned pharmaceutical firm for the said purchase before the end of the month.

The supply agreement is the final phase of the government negotiation with the pharmaceutical firm for the acquisition of the said vaccines.

Galvez earlier said the said supply accord was supposed to have been completed last month.

The Philippine Communication Operations Office said Secretary Dominguez has disclosed pursuing three financial approaches in the vaccine procurement: multilateral approach, private sector partnership, and local government units (LGUs) tie-up.

The government’s multilateral approach has an available fund of $1.38 billion to be provided by the World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the finance chief said.

This is in addition to the available money for the vaccines through agreements with suppliers or with Covax, he added.

These methods would fund the procurement of a total of 106 million doses amounting to $1.2 million, he said, adding the government also secured 40 million doses from Covax.

Dominguez said the Philippines was expecting to acquire up to 148 million doses of vaccines to immunize around 76 million adults or more than 100 percent of the country’s adult population. He added that those aged 18 years old and below were not qualified for inoculation.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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