DOF identifies sources of COVID-19 vaccine fund

Published November 24, 2020, 2:05 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The Department of Finance (DOF) has identified three sources of funds for the procurement of the coronavirus vaccines that will be given to priority sectors.

In a report to President Duterte, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the government would source the P73.2 billion COVID-19 vaccine fund from development banks, state-owned financial companies and partner countries.

According to Dominguez, the government can obtain around P40 billion through “low-cost, long-term loans” from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank.

Dominguez also said the government can tap another P20 billion from Land Bank of the Philippines, Development Bank of the Philippines and government-owned and controlled corporations.

The remaining P13.2 billion will be sourced from bilateral negotiations with countries from where the vaccines would originate, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, the finance chief said.

Dominguez added that the P73.2 billion vaccine fund will enable the government to inoculate 60 million Filipinos against the coronavirus based on an average vaccine cost of P1,200 per person.

“Some [vaccine prices] are lower, some are higher so we don’t know exactly how much is the cost. But let say, $25 or P1,200, P73.2 billion is good for 60 million people to be vaccinated,” he said.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said that inoculating 60 million Filipinos may enable the country to reach “herd immunity,” based on pronouncements from the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Herd immunity” is a vaccination term in which a population becomes protected from a particular virus after reaching a threshold or certain number of vaccinated people.

Duque said that according to WHO, herd immunity can be acquired if 60 to 70 percent of the population is vaccinated, which means that with 60 million inoculated Filipinos the country would “pretty much arrest the spread” of the virus. 

President Duterte said the country’s poorest population, and members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) will be among those to be given priority in the would-be government’s COVID-19 immunization drive.