The Philippines can get free COVID-19 vaccines for 15 percent of its population through the United Nations’ (UN) COVAX facility, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Saturday, February 27.
With some 109 million Filipinos as of 2020, 15 percent will account for 16,350,000 of the population.
“PH is one 92 countries COVAX eligible to get free vaccines for 15 percent of its population. I donated US$100,000. Also taking part in COVID 19 ASEAN RESPONSE FUND. I donated US$100,000. PH vaccine rollout underway, first shots first week of March. WHO confirmed we are ready,” he posted on Twitter.
COVAX is a United Nations facility that provides access to safe and efficient vaccines for lower-income economies.
The Philippines was supposed to welcome 117,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech in mid-February but missing indemnification requirements delayed it.
Instead, the country will receive some 600,000 doses of China’s Sinovac vaccines on Sunday, Feb. 28. Locsin said that he and President Duterte will welcome the arrival.
Locsin explained that there are two ways to get vaccines from the COVAX facility.
The first one is a “fully subsidized, donor-funded does (for PH: 117,000 indicative doses of Pfizer/BioNTech and 5,500,800 indicative doses of AstraZeneca from AstraZeneca-SKBio)” and the second one is top-up doses that “are full[y] paid through cost-sharing contributions” with the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.
Aside from the actual vaccines, the top-up financing will also cover ultra cold chain/cold chain equipment, delivery, and logistics, wherein Locsin said “kickbacks can happen.”
“We will keep you the public informed so you will know what to do until the vaccines get here and what to expect when they get here & there’s still a fuck up. There will be hell to pay,” Locsin tweeted.
He said President Rodrigo Duterte is “sick and tired of delay.”
“DFA is doing its job; (Carlito) Galvez straining every neuron and muscle to get it done fast but he is not the Czar of Everything. There’s no one better for the job he’s got.”