PH fighting for share of vaccine supply

Published January 18, 2021, 11:15 AM

by Ben Rosario

80% of available COVID-19 vaccines cornered by rich countries – Galvez

The Philippines is fighting for a share of the remaining 20 percent of the available COVID-19 vaccines for the year or what is left from the supplies that rich nations have not yet preordered.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez told the House Committee on Health that the Philippines is currently in the “thick of negotiations” for vaccine supply and is pursuing procurement process and financing.

“At least 80 percent of global supply has gone to rich countries as of December 4, 2020. We are trying our best to get a fair share for the remaining 20 percent,” Galvez said.

He noted that there is currently a shortfall of vaccines for at least two billion people all over the world.

“There is a very limited global supply,” the former military general said.

But notwithstanding the grim vaccine picture painted by Galvez, the vaccine czar, who is also the chief implementer of the National Policy against COVID-19, assured the House panel chaired by Quezon Rep. Helen Tan, that P148 million will be available to vaccinate over 70 million Filipinos within the year.

“Given the limited global supply, it is in the best interest of a country to pool its demand in order to gain access and negotiate for lower prices,” he said.

Congress has authorized the government to spend at least P82 billion for the vaccination program, with the bulk of the budget, estimated at least P80 billion, to be sourced from loans from local and foreign lending agencies.