P12.9B needed to purchase COVID-19 vaccines—DOH
MANILA, Philippines — A total of P12.9 billion is needed to purchase vaccines for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Department of Health (DOH) said Friday.
During the DOH’s 2021 budget briefing before the House appropriations committee, Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said the agency has set aside only P2.5 billion to cover the vaccines for the “most at risk” population, which include medical frontliners, barangay health workers, and indigent senior citizens.
Cabotaje explained that the government will use loans from Landbank to cover the remaining amount.
“We need P12.9 billion po, pero P2.5 billion po muna ang in-allocate namin kasi po ang scheme, puwede hong loan sa Landbank para ma-cover ‘yung remaining budget requirement,” the Health official said.
“Ang mechanism po uutang tayo sa Landbank, magpupurchase po ang PITC-Pharmaceutical under DTI. Iyong pambayad ay kukunin po sa budget ng DOH in the coming years. So ‘yan po ang ating proposal for the vaccine procurement, she added.
President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly vowed to source out funds to provide Filipinos with the COVID-19 vaccines, even expressing willingness to sell government property if necessary for the purchase of the vaccines.
The government earlier said it is already in negotiations with several drug manufacturers abroad for the possible purchase of their respective COVID-19 vaccines.
The Philippines is also planning to host Phase 3 of clinical trials of Russia’s Sputnik-V vaccine.
The human testing will be funded by the Russian government and will be done simultaneously in Manila and in Moscow.
Aside from this, the country also joined COVAX Facility, a mechanism designed to guarantee rapid, fair, and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.
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