Gov’t allots P45B for vaccine purchase in 2022

Published July 25, 2021, 12:06 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

This early, the government has set aside P45 billion for any acquisition of additional coronavirus vaccines for Filipinos next year.

President Duterte with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III (File photo: Malacañang)

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III assured the nation about the availability of the funds in the national budget that can be used for vaccinations, including possible booster shots, in 2022.

The fund allocation for 2022 was made as the government remained committed to vaccinate the country’s adult population before the end of the year.

“We just had a meeting with (Budget) Secretary (Wendel) Avisado and (Health) Secretary (Francisco) Duque yesterday, and we noted that we have in the budget for next year already 45 billion pesos for additional vaccinations,” Dominguez said in a report to President Duterte and other top government officials Friday, July 24.

“Just to assure you — yourself, Mr. President, and the health community, we do have the money for that. Now the question is: How do we use that money? Are we going to need booster shoots? Are we going to need another set of vaccinations? Whatever it is, please tell us so that we can — we can properly allocate these funds,” he added.

Dominguez informed the President that funds for vaccine purchase would not be a problem not only this year but also next year.

“So, Mr. President, I don’t think we are good only until six months, I think we are good beyond 2022. Okay, so it’s nothing to — it is not going to be easy, but with the moves that you have made from 2016 to 2019, we are ready to handle this problem financially, and that is due to you, Mr. President,” he added.

The government earlier set aside P85 billion for the procurement of 140 million doses of vaccines for 70 million adult Filipinos. The funds will be sourced from the funds of Department of Health under the 2021 national budget, overseas development assistance (ODA) financing, and contingent funds. Dominguez previously said additional P20 billion will be allocated to procure vaccines for the country’s young population.

The country has so far received over 30 million doses of coronavirus vaccines, including the recent deliveries of Sinovac, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson jabs. More than 5 million Filipinos, mostly health workers, seniors, people with comorbidity, and essential workers, have so far been fully vaccinated in the country.

More coronavirus vaccines are expected to be delivered to the country in coming months, according to Dominguez.

“We expect to receive around 65 million from July 1st until September 30 — that’s the third quarter — and around 55 million by the end of — by the end of the third quarter. So the total we are expecting to receive this year is 171 million doses,” he said.

With the forthcoming arrival of vaccine supply, he expressed confidence the government could meet its vaccination goal this year.

“So those 171 million is more than enough to vaccinate the entire adult population of the Philippines and the money is already available for that, okay. So there is no problem with the money for this year,” he said.

“By the end of this year, we will be able to vaccinate the entire adult population of the Philippines. Hopefully everybody will agree to be vaccinated.”