Gatchalian: P200B needed to vaccinate whole PH population vs COVID-19
MANILA, Philippines — Around P200 billion is needed to vaccinate the Philippines’ whole population against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said Thursday.
“Ang own estimate is about 200 billion to give vaccines or to inoculate all of our population,” Gatchalian told reporters in an online interview.
“Ang aming estimate [is for] all. Dahil vaccine is to prevent, so ang gusto ko pati yung bata mape-prevent from getting infected. So, in a perfect setting, lahat tayo dapat mabigyan ng vaccine,” he added.
(Our estimate is for all. Because vaccine is to prevent, so what I want is for our children to be vaccinated to prevent them from being infected. So, in a perfect setting, all of us will be vaccinated.)
Earlier, Malacañang said the Philippine government will conduct the Phase 3 of clinical trials of Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine from October 2020 to March 2021.
This, after Russia, which earlier expressed readiness to supply the Philippines with vaccines, announced that it has approved and registered a vaccine for COVID-19.
Gatchalian, meanwhile, underscored the need for the government to exercise caution in selecting which vaccines to purchase.
“Sa akin, secondary na kung kailan e, importante na ma-assure natin na safe itong mga vaccines para magamit natin,” he added.
(For me, the question of when the vaccine will be made available is only secondary; what is important is to ensure its safety.)
He said health authorities should ensure that the vaccines to be procured by the government in the future adhere to international standards.
“Bago man gamitin sa publiko itong vaccine na ito ay dumaan sa masusi [na trials] at sa international standards. Dahil maaga man dumating e kung magkakaroon tayo ng probleme… dodoble yung problema natin,” the senator said.
(Before it can be allowed for use, it should first go through thorough trials and adheres to international standards. Because even if it would be available immediately but has problems, our problems will probably double.)
Earlier, Finance Undersecretary Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the Philippines can finance the vaccination of 20 million people against COVID-19 once it becomes available.
He said the government can allocate $400 million or roughly P20 billion to buy the vaccine with the help of the Philippine International Trading Corp., Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).
Aside from Russia, the Philippine government has already reached out to various COVID-19 vaccine developers from the United States, Taiwan, China, and the United Kingdom for possible purchase once vaccines have been found and become available.
Over 100 potential COVID-19 vaccines are currently in development worldwide.
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