More than 100,000 vaccine doses expected next month –Roque

Published January 15, 2021, 9:12 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

An initial shipment of 100,000 to 150,000 coronavirus vaccines may be delivered to the country next month, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Friday as the government scales up the acquisition efforts of the preventive drug.

Of the highly anticipated vaccines expected to arrive in the country, Roque said around 50,000 will be the first batch of the vaccine doses acquired by the government from China’s Sinovac Biotech.

The Palace official earlier said that apart from Sinovac vaccines, those developed by American drugmaker Pfizer and possibly Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute would be the other brands to arrive in the country in February.

“Sabihin na lang natin na may posibilidad na sa Pebrero ay hindi lang 50,000 ‘no, baka umabot tayo ng 100 or 150,000. Pero ang malawakang pagdating po talaga ay sa Marso (Let’s just say there is a possibility that only 50,000 will arrive in February. It might reach 100,000 or 150,000. But the bulk of the supplies will start arriving in March),” Roque said in interview over DZRH Friday.

The government aims to vaccinate 70 million Filipinos to achieve herd immunity amid intensified efforts to acquire vaccines from various suppliers. It has already secured 30 million vaccine doses from Serum Institute of India, in addition to the 25 million doses from Sinovac. 

To critics of the government’s purchase of the Chinese-made vaccines, Roque hit back at their supposed ignorance. He denied allegations that Sinovac vaccines were expensive.

“‘Yung mga kritiko ng gobyerno talaga, tira nang tira wala namang mga alam (Government critics always attack but they don’t know anything),” he said.

“In fact, sa anim o pito na bibilhin natin, nasa gitna po ang presyo ng Sinovac, hindi po siya ang pinakamahal. Mayroon pang dalawang brand na mas mahal kaysa po sa Sinovac (Of the six or seven choices, the price of Sinovac is in the middle range. It is not the most expensive. There are two other brands that are more expensive than Sinovac),” he said.

Roque maintained that the brand of the coronavirus vaccine was no longer an issue once it gets approval from local drug regulators. He said the coronavirus vaccines are proven safe and effective once approved by the country’s Food and Drug Administration.

“Uulitin ko ang sabi ni Presidente, kapag na-approve po ang bakuna ng FDA, tabla-tabla po iyan. Hindi ibig sabihin ang isa ay mas epektibo, ang isa ay mas mabuti kaysa doon sa isa (I’ll repeat what the President said. Once the vaccines are approved by the FDA, they are on equal footing. It does not mean one is more effective or better than the other),” he said.