PH buying 22 M more Sinovac jabs

Published September 7, 2021, 7:55 AM

by Martin Sadongdong

The national government is buying an additional 22 million doses of Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac to ensure a steady supply of vaccines against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. presents updates on COVID-19 vaccination program on July 12, 2021. (Screenshot courtesy of RTVM livestream)

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said 10 to 12 million doses will arrive this September while another 10 million doses will likely be delivered next month.

“The 10 to 12 million for September is already okay while the 10 milion for October [is] for finalization,” Galvez told the Manila Bulletin on Monday night, Sept. 6.

The government previously bought around 26 million doses of Sinovac jabs, the delivery of which were already completed in early August.

There was no mention of the total cost of the vaccine procurement due to the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) between the government and the Chinese vaccine manufacturer.

However, the vaccine czar belied reports that were being circulated on messaging applications recently about the price of Sinovac jabs.

Accordingly, the government had bought a dose of Sinovac for $38 or around P1,900 while Sao Paolo State in Brazil supposedly paid $90 million for 46 million doses of Sinovac or at $1.95 (P97.5) per dose.

“This is an old issue and proganda. As we have said repeatedly, we got Sinovac lower than P700,” Galvez said.

“$1.95 per dose is impossible. It might be the initial payment of 15 percent,” he added.

Galvez stressed that “no manufacturer will survive” with a selling price of $1.95 per dose, saying it might be the cost of the vial alone snd not the full product.

He said even AstraZeneca, perhaps one of the cheapest vaccine they bought, is being sold for no profit and at $5 (around P250) per dose.

“That price [$1.95] is crazy to believe. Huwag po kayong maniwala dito, black propaganda po ito (Do not believe this, it’s black propaganda),” said Galvez, also the chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19.

Back in January, Sen. Panfilo Lacson raised concerns about the sharp difference between the price of Sinovac being offered in the Philiplines and in other countries.

Lacson said Sinovac may cost a little as $5 per dose abroad based on the figures provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) and from the manufacturers.

However, he said the Department of Health (DOH), during the budget deliberations in November 2020, provided the Senate Committee on Finance the data on the Sinovac vaccine price which is at P3,629.50 for two doses.