Galvez: Gov’t chose Sinovac vaccine because it’s cheaper than other brands
MANILA, Philippines — Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. defended on Wednesday the government’s decision to procure vaccines developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech, saying it’s cheaper than the jabs made by US pharmaceutical firms.
Although he did not disclose Sinovac’s cost per dosage, Galvez said the Philippines was given the “best price” by the Chinese government for these vaccines.
“Kaya po namin napili ang Sinovac dahil medyo mura po ito,” Galvez said in a televised briefing.
(The reason why we chose Sinovac is because it’s a little cheaper.)
“Pangalawa, gagamitin po ito sa Singapore, Turkey, at Indonesia. Ang Malaysia po ay gumagawa ng manufacturing capacity ng Sinovac at gagamitin din po itong Sinovac dito po sa Brazil at saka sa Egypt,” he went on.
(Second, this will be used by Singapore, Turkey, and Indonesia. Malaysia is already establishing its manufacturing capacity for Sinovac. Sinovac will also be used in Brazil and Egypt.)
Many lawmakers and groups have questioned the Duterte administration’s seeming preference for Sinovac’s Covid-19 vaccines despite its higher price, and that it has yet to apply for an emergency use authorization with the local Food and Drug Administration.
According to data released by Senate committee on finance chair Sonny Angara, Sinovac is the second-most-expensive vaccine with a price tag of P3,629.50 for two doses per patient. The most expensive is Moderna’s vaccine, which costs around P3,904 to P4,504 for two doses per person.
“Mali po ‘yung information ng ating mahal na senator kasi po ‘yung Sinovac, ka-presyo niya po ang Novovax, ka-presyo niya po ang Gamaleya, ka-presyo niya po ang ibang vaccines. ‘Yung sinasabi natin na five times, mali po iyon,” Galvez said.
(The information of this senator is wrong because Sinovac has the same price as Novovax, Gamaleya and other vaccines. Saying that it is five times more expensive, that is wrong.)
He was then asked to comment on Senator Kiko Pangilinan’s statement calling for the cancellation of the Sinovac vaccine purchase as it was more expensive than other vaccines despite having a lower efficacy rate.
Sinovac, with just over 50% efficacy is 6 times more expensive than Aztrazeneca which in contrast shows 70% efficacy. Sinovac is more expensive yet having almost 20% lower efficacy. Given these latest findings, we call on the DoH to cancel the purchase of Sinovac vaccines. pic.twitter.com/K2lr5xde4l
— Kiko Pangilinan (@kikopangilinan) January 13, 2021
“Di ko lang po mai-reveal ang lahat ng cost ng different vaccine. Nasa middle po ang Sinovac. Mas mura po siya sa Moderna, mas mura po siya sa ibang vaccines ng US,” Galvez said.
(I just could not reveal the cost of different vaccines. Sinovac is in the middle. It is cheaper than Modern and other vaccines from the US.)
“Nakikita po namin, very fair po ‘yung treatment namin sa Sinovac. Napakabait po ng ating mahal na Chinese ambassador, binigay po ‘yung best price,” he added.
(We saw that Sinovac gave us fair treatment. Our beloved Chinese ambassador was really nice and he gave us the best price.)
The Philippines has already secured from Sinovac 25 million doses of its vaccines, according to government officials, and that 50,000 doses will be arriving in the country by next month.