PH not late in buying COVID-19 vaccines — Galvez
MANILA, Philippines — COVID-19 policy chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. believes that the Philippines is not yet late in securing coronavirus vaccines supply although he admitted there are hindrances in the country’s procurement of the much-needed vaccines.
“I believe we are not late yet because we have ongoing negotiations with different leading (pharmaceutical) companies,” Galvez said during the weekly Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum on Wednesday.
The former military explained that President Rodrigo Duterte’s clearance was needed to ensure that the government could make necessary advance payments and commitments on vaccine deals which is strictly prohibited by the country’s auditing laws.
Duterte has agreed to make advance market commitments and advance payments to private COVID-19 developers to ensure supply for the Philippines despite expressing reservations in September.
The Philippine government and private companies signed a supply agreement with British drugmaker AstraZeneca involving at least two million doses of its vaccine last week.
But Galvez expressed confidence that the country can achieve at least 50 million doses of vaccines by 2021.
The Philippines aims to vaccinate up to 60 percent of the population against COVID-19 to achieve herd immunity.
Aside from AstraZeneca, the government is also looking into the vaccines of China’s Sinovac Biotech, Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute, and Pfizer of the United States.
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