Lacson disputes need for more COVID-19 vaccine funds
MANILA, Philippines — There will be no need for another P25 billion for the vaccination of minors because the amount can already be covered by the P57.3 billion in loans the government has secured.
Citing figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Sen. Panfilo Lacson said on Saturday that only P30.47 billion may be needed to inoculate 68.2 million adult Filipinos this year.
According to PSA estimates as of March 28, Lacson said the Philippines’ midyear population is forecast to reach 110.12 million by July 1, of which 62 percent, or about 68.32 million, are adults.
“If we multiply this by P446 per dose, including logistical costs, we will need about P30.47 billion to inoculate our adult Filipinos. Thus, the difference of P26.83 billion is more than enough to cover the P25-billion requirement to procure the vaccines for our minors,” he said.
Lacson said that even if the government were to inoculate 83.8 million adults as planned by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, the government would only need P37.37 billion at P446 per dose.
This total amount of P37.37 billion is “still way below” the P57.3 billion in loans the government has already secured from various sources, he said.
Lacson reiterated his objection to the request of Budget Sec. Wendel Avisado for an additional funding of P25 billion for the vaccination of minors.
He also cited figures from vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. that the Philippines expects to receive 68 million free doses of vaccines, including 44 million from the Covax facility and 24 million from two brands.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua also confirmed that the government had already procured millions of vaccine doses set for delivery in the next couple of months.
“The 30 million doses of vaccines set to arrive in the next two months can help cover a significant number of the 33 million workers throughout the country in the A4 priority group who have yet to receive their first dose,” Chua said.
Aside from the P25 billion, the Senate will scrutinize agencies’ requests for additional budgets for pandemic response, including an additional P66 billion being requested by the Department of Health.
The senator made the remarks as the government’s vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. announced that logistical issues have caused the delivery of the first batch of United States-developed Moderna Covid-19 vaccines to be pushed back to a later date.
Galvez said the arrival of the 250,000 Moderna vaccine doses was moved four days later to June 25 instead of June 21.
It will be the first shipment of Moderna from the 20 million doses purchased by the government and the private sector.
From the first batch, 150,000 is allocated for the national government, while 100,000 will be for the private sector.
Galvez said 1 million more Moderna doses are expected to be delivered in July, while 2 million doses will arrive by September.
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