Once all legal requirements are settled, the country may finally receive its first supply of the highly-anticipated Pfizer vaccines from the United States by the end of the month, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. disclosed Monday night, April 19.
Galvez, chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, said that 195,000 doses of Pfizer vaccines may be shipped into the country through the Covax facility “by [the] end of April”.
“Sa ngayon po, nabigyan po kami ng warning order na kapag natapos po namin ang legal na ano ng Pfizer baka dumating ‘yong 195,000 na Pfizer galing po sa Covax (Right now, we were given a warning order that if we finished the legal [requirements] of Pfizer, the 195,000 doses might arrive through the Covax),” Galvez told President Duterte during a televised Cabinet meeting.
Galvez added that the additional 2.4 million doses of Pfizer vaccines that were secured by the government through a bilateral agreement with the American manufacturer may also be delivered “early” in the second quarter.
The government was supposed to secure 10 million doses of Pfizer vaccines in January, but Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. had said the deal went to waste after “somebody dropped the ball.”
Re-negotiations were held until Pfizer had committed to deliver 117,000 vaccine doses to the Philippines in February but it was delayed due to unmet indemnification requirements between the two parties.
The indemnification requirement will ensure that Pfizer will not be held liable in case of an adverse event on any vaccinee injected with its vaccine.
Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez said in a television interview last week that the government has already resolved the legal issues with Pfizer.
The Pfizer vaccine is one of the most sought brands of jabs against COVID-19 around the world due to its high efficacy rate.
According to the Department of Health (DOH), Pfizer has an efficacy rate of 94.7 percent based on the results of its Phase 3 clinical trials.
It is taken in two doses at least 21 days apart, and can be injected to those aged 16 years old and above.
In total, the country is expecting the delivery of 1,695,000 vaccine doses this month, including those from Pfizer, CoronaVac from Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech, and Sputnik V from Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute.
A total of one million doses of CoronaVac vaccines will be delivered on April 22 (500,000 doses) and April 29 (500,000 doses).
Meanwhile, 20,000 doses of Sputnik V vaccines will initially be transported on April 22 for a mini rollout and the remaining 480,000 doses will follow on April 29.
“Pinaprocess na po natin ‘yong payment sa P10 million, ‘yong 15 percent niya (We are processing the payment worth P10 million, including the initial payment for 15 percent of the contract price [for the Sputnik V vaccines]),” Galvez said.
The vaccine czar said the government will procure an additional one to two million doses of Sputnik V vaccines from Russia, which could be delivered in May.
In May, around four million doses are expected to be delivered to the country. The deliveries will come from Sinovac (2 million), Gamaleya (1 to 2 million), and United States’ Moderna (194,000).
In June, around seven to eight million doses of vaccines are set to be flown into the country, including those from Sinovac (4.5 million), Gamaleya (2 million), and AstraZeneca (1.3 million) which are part of the total 2.6 million doses bought by the private sector — half of which would be donated to the government.