PH gov’t eyes purchasing booster shots for COVID-19

Published April 21, 2021, 1:59 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. on Wednesday, April 21, said the Philippine government is considering buying booster shots instead of procuring additional Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

(ALI VICOY / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Galvez said Moderna is developing a booster shot, which can be used even with Sinovac or Gamaleya’s Sputnik V.

“We found out that Moderna is developing a booster that can be used even if we took Sinovac or Gamaleya first,” Galvez said during the joint hearing of the House committee on health and committee on trade and industry.

“The booster that can be used with another vaccine may arrive either September or October,” he added.

Galvez said that instead of the additional five million doses that the government plans to procure from Moderna, he said they “might buy the booster already.”

“That’s what we are looking into,” the vaccine czar said.

Also during the hearing, Galvez assured House lawmakers that the Philippines is not lagging behind other countries in the COVID-19 vaccination drive.

Despite a very limited supply of COVID-19 jabs in the first and second quarter of the year, he said the Philippines so far ranks fourth among Southeast Asian countries in the number of vaccine doses administered to its citizens.

Indonesia, he said, has over 17 million vaccine doses administered, Singapore with more than 2.2 million and Myanmar with 1.74 million, citing Department of Health (DOH) data.

Galvez also said the Philippines ranks 42nd out of 174 countries in the world and 15th out of 47 Asian countries in the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered.

 
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