The country’s vaccine czar said “equitable access” to the COVID-19 vaccine might only be achieved in the Philippines by 2022.
“Only maybe in 2022 that we will have equitable access to the [vaccine],” National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. told ANC in an interview Monday.
Galvez said the government might allow the commercialization of COVID-19 vaccines by 2022 if the country has enough supply by then.
According to Galvez, even the World Health Organization (WHO) and the vaccine makers will not indulge in vaccine commercialization by next year.
Galvez said the government will be implementing a science-based, geographical, and sectoral approach to its COVID-19 vaccination program.
“By geographical, we have to vaccinate people in those areas who are affected by the virus, particularly in the National Capital Region, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, and in Cebu,” Galvez said.
Galvez said the priority for the vaccination program will be the health workers, followed by the poor and vulnerable societies.
“Really, the priority is the poor people. The President has spoken that the access should be equitable to the poor initially, and then after, for the upper bracket,” he added.
“Our stand is really to impose that regimen, that we will impose our priority based on the DOH guidelines,” he said.
Essential workers, including members of the Departments of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and Education (DepEd) and other agencies will also be prioritized, according to Galvez.
Policemen, servicemen, and soldiers serving in the frontlines are likewise included in the priority list.
After vaccinating those on the priority list, Galvez said next in line will be essential workers from businesses.
Galvez said the government has been continuously negotiating with different vaccine manufacturers and developers to procure enough vaccines needed to achieve its target of vaccinating at least 75 to 80 percent of the population.
“We have very encouraging results of negation right now. This week we will be negotiating with Serum Institute of India (SII). We are trying to meet also with Pfizer, Sinovac, and also Johnson & Johnson and maybe Moderna…and Novavax,” he said.
Galvez said based on the estimates, the Philippines can get around 10 to 15 million, even 20 million vaccines from each of the vaccine makers the government is planning to have talks with.