More COVID-19 vaccines arriving this year

Published January 13, 2021, 8:29 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

More coronavirus vaccine supplies are forthcoming in the country this year.

Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) on COVID-19 (NTF AGAINST COVID-19 / MANILA BULLETIN)

The country is set to sign a deal with British biopharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca to secure “more or less” 20 million doses of coronavirus vaccines, according to vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. The tripartite agreement will be signed among the national government, local government units, and the concerned vaccine manufacturer, he added.

“Bukas nga po ay aming pipirmahan, lalagdaan po namin ang tripartite agreement ng more or less 20 million doses para sa AstraZeneca (We will sign Thursday a tripartite agreement for more or less 20 million doses from AstraZeneca),” Galvez said during a televised public briefing Wednesday.

Under the tripartite arrangement, Galvez said the responsibility of the local government units is “to administer the vaccine” in coordination with the Department of Health. The national government, on the other hand, will handle the cold chain requirement and other supplies needed for the immunization.

The country has already secured supplies of 30 million doses of Covovax vaccines and an additional 25 million doses from China’s Sinovac, which are expected to be shipped this year. Negotiations are ongoing with other vaccine makers like Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.

“Maganda po ang ating negotiation at mayroon na po tayong tinatawag nating conclusive final agreement na puwede nating pirmahan any day from now (Our negotiation are good and we will have a conclusive final agreement that we can sign any day from now),” Galvez said.

The government plans to acquire 148 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines this year to vaccinate around 50 million to 70 million Filipinos to attain herd immunity.

Galvez said Pfizer, Sinovac and AstraZeneca are expected to arrive first in the country once an early rollout is finalized.

He said vaccines that need to be stored in extremely cold condition like Pfizer and Moderna may be deployed in Manila, Cebu and Davao due to existing facilities. Vaccines made by Sinovac, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and Novavax that can be stored at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius, meantime, can be deployed to far-flung places since it would not require cold chain facilities.